Health authorities are urging women aged 50 – 74 years in western Sydney to be vigilant with their regular mammograms, with latest figures revealing that more than 57,000 local women have not participated in the national breast cancer screening program in the past two years.
Breast cancer remains the most common cancer among women in NSW, with one in eight being diagnosed in their lifetime.
It is also the second most common cause of cancer death among NSW women.
In western Sydney, around 500 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year and around 90 women die of the disease.
The state’s chief cancer officer and Cancer Institute NSW CEO Professor David Currow said breast cancer did not need to be a death sentence.
“We know that detecting breast cancer early means women have better treatment options, and ultimately a better outcome,” he said.
“The best way for women aged 50-74 to detect cancer early is to have a mammogram every two years.”
In spite of this, only 48.1 per cent of eligible women in Western Sydney Local Health District have had their mammogram in the past two years.
Westmead Breast Cancer Institute director Associate Professor Nirmala Pathmanathan said: “there are many reasons why women may put off their mammogram. Some feel that without a family history they are not at risk, some say they are too busy and others fear embarrassment.”
“We need women to know that breast cancer can happen to anyone. In fact, nine out of ten women who develop breast cancer have no family history. A mammogram with BreastScreen NSW is free, takes 20 minutes and is performed by highly trained female-only staff. Most importantly, it could save your life.”
Women can book a mammogram today with BreastScreen NSW by calling 13 20 50, or can book online or search for their nearest BreastScreen NSW service by visiting breastscreen.nsw.gov.au