WESTERN Sydney has one of the worst breast cancer rates in the world, yet women continue to ignore the pleas to get checked.
Breast cancer screening participation rates across the Western Sydney Local Health District sit at about 48 per cent, six points less than the state average.
In Blacktown it is even less, with only 46 per cent participation. The international benchmark is 70 per cent.
Westmead Breast Cancer Research Institute associate director Nirmala Pathmanathan said: “It worries me that in this day and age we have educated women come into the clinic with a large painful lump in their breast they’ve ignored and have let spread to the lymph nodes.”
Prof Pathmanathan said there were multiple reasons why western Sydney was lagging behind. “We have a large population from very different ethnic backgrounds and that impacts the figures,” she said. “We’re working hard to focus on these areas. We’ve done lots of things but we’re still struggling.”
Willmot breast cancer survivor Debbie Sneyd (pictured) is living proof getting checked is critical.
She lost her sister to breast cancer and was diagnosed herself two years ago. “My sister had a pimple-like thing on her breast which got bigger and bigger,” she said. She’d never had a mammogram.
“That was in January 2014 and she passed away in November 2014. I was diagnosed that September.
“I would have never known it was there. There was no lump or anything.”
BreastScreen NSW provides free appointments for women aged 50-74.
Source: Article originally published in the Blacktown Advocate 17 January 2018