Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women in Australia, where 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer by the age of 75. A simple mammogram can detect cancers at an early stage, well before it is palpable. The Breastscreen program provides free service to all women aged 40 and over for a mammogram every two years. Screening services are located at many locations, including shopping centres, hospitals and mobile vans.
It is a privilege for me to have reached 10th year of my career working as a Radiographer at the Westmead Breast Cancer Institute. In these ten years of service, I have had the opportunity to meet women from walks of life and recently.
A journey that one cannot forget, I had a close encounter when my mother in law who is 73 years old was diagnosed with breast cancer. It is a different experience as a Radiographer when someone really close to you has had breast cancer, from receiving the biopsy results through to treatment and follow-up.
The benefit of having breast screening is that the chance of survival is greatly improved as mirrored in my mother in law and now she is embracing many years of being cancer-free due to Breastscreening program.
My work as a radiographer is so fulfilling, as I believe that I have helped save a woman’s life by performing mammograms to detect early breast cancer. Hence my decision to get involved with the community at large, and to go that extra mile and give presentations to raise awareness of breast cancer and the importance of Breastscreening. My aim and mission is to speak to women and encourage them to have regular screening mammograms.
Mammogram requires compression of breast which can cause discomfort. However, via my presentations, hopefully I will be able to answer any queries and questions in person, to ensure that correct and accurate information is given to women to alleviate any concerns. Hopefully this will help in clearing any misconceptions or misguided beliefs that women may have, that could be a deterrent for them to attend the screening service. Face to face presentations will enable me to respond to queries on the technical aspect of the procedure, so that women are more informed and less apprehensive when they come for their screening appointment and ultimately lead to a better experience and patient care.
As part of the multi-disciplinary team and as radiographer professional, my career is very rewarding but it is more so when I am able to encourage women in the community to attend their regular screening mammogram and to provide high quality images for diagnosis. And ultimately contribute to early detection and signs of breast cancers for women so they can have a better chance of survival and quality of life.