Look closely at the crowd at the Sydney Pink Test between Australia and India and you’ll see a vibrant group anxious to get their voices heard. We aren’t talking Kohli and his entourage or the Swami Army, doubtless confident of a third win of the series.
These are the ladies of Pink Sari Inc. And their message hasn’t really much at all to do with cricket. Their objective on Saturday on Jane McGrath Day is to try and improve the rates of breast screening of Indian and Sri Lankan women throughout New South Wales which are traditionally well below the norm.
It’s a message that particularly resonates with Kalyani Mani, aged 51, who works at Sydney Airport. She is married with a 21-year-old daughter.
In April last she visited her GP for a general check up. She said: “The doctor asked, in passing, if I
had had my mammogram done this year. I said I hadn’t.
“Then she did a physical examination and said: “You seem to be all right but please go and have a mammogram.”
“I was thinking shall I take a day off to go and get it done? I was just dilly-dallying with the idea. I then found the following week the mobile truck [BreastScreen NSW bus] parked outside my office at the airport. I popped in and asked if they had a spot available at lunchtime.
“I had my screening done and on May 8 the results came through.”
The screening found a lump not picked up by the physical examination. Surgery was followed by chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
“The prognosis is good because they got it early,” Ms Mani said. “Thank god for divine intervention and the mobile truck. That’s my message – go and get yourself checked out. There’s no history of any kind of cancer in my family. The physical examination by my GP did not show anything. Thank god I did go and have the mammogram done – it takes just 10 minutes.”
She says there is a stigma within her community about the testing. They haven’t seen mothers or aunts going for screening back home, she says. They think it’s not going to happen to me. Culturally many women would be shy of the screening procedures.
Pink Sari Inc president Shantha Viswanathan said the Indian community had one of the lowest rates of mammogram screening. “Our awareness-raising initiatives have seen the screening rates exceed the original target by at least a 17 per cent.”
“Supporters dressed in pink will perform dances, not just Bollywood dances, they will be classical from the north of India,” she said.
Saturday’s Jane McGrath Day for the charity started with Jane and Glenn McGrath’s public experience with breast cancer.
McGrath Foundation CEO Holly Masters said: “Thanks to organisations such as Cricket Australia we have funded over 120 McGrath breast care nurses, and have supported tens of thousands of families, but there is still a long way to go to meet demand for these services.”
“This year we’ve set our biggest and most ambitious fundraising goal ever: $2,100,000 to fund 15 McGrath breast care nurses for a year.”
Research from the McGrath Foundation shows that in 2019 there will be a shortfall of more than 100 breast care nurses across the country – a figure it predicts will grow by an incremental 10 per cent by 2023 – a shortfall of 135.
Glenn McGrath said: “With 50 Australians diagnosed with breast cancer every day there is critical and continuing need for more McGrath breast care nurses to support families through breast cancer.”
+ In Australia, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer by the age of 85.
+ Around 50 people will be diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia every day this year.
+ Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in females in Australia.
Source: Original article published by Sydney Morning Herald 3 January 2019