Women over 75 have been reminded about the importance of having a breast screen.
Women over 75 have been reminded about the importance of having a breast screen. Inga Williams

Never too old for two-yearly breast checks

WOMEN in older age groups are encouraged to make their health a priority, and book in for a free breast screen.

BreastScreen Queensland's Toowoomba Service health promotion officer Nicola Garret said older ladies, especially those in the 75-plus age bracket, may think they were too old to have a breast screen, or that they didn't need to maintain their two-yearly checks anymore.

"In fact it's never too late and that's why we are urging older women to book now," she said.

"We do actively target women from 50 to 74 years old, because the majority of cases diagnosed do fall within that age group, but we also urge women from 40 to 49 years, and those 75 and over, to have free regular two-yearly breast screens."

Toowoomba resident and BreastScreen volunteer Shirley Meehan is living proof a breast screen for women over 75 can be a life-saver.

"I'd had no trouble for a lot of years, but in 2014, while I was volunteering with BreastScreen, I thought I'd better make an appointment," Mrs Meehan said.

"In 2014, I was diagnosed with cancer in the left breast and then in 2015 I was diagnosed with cancer in the right."

Mrs Meehan, 78, has completed her treatment journey, living an active life, still volunteering at Toowoomba Breast- Screen.

"To me there seem to be a lot more ladies over 75 who are being diagnosed, so I would say to anyone in that 75-plus age group, make sure you have regular breast screens," she said.

"You do hear a lot of older ladies saying 'I'm in my 70s now, I've had no problems, I don't need to go anymore', but on the other hand we see a lot of ladies in here who are in their 80s, who have had breast cancer, so it is very important to keep coming."

Toowoomba resident Sheena Liley is another advocate of regular breast screens, encouraging women in the 50-plus age bracket to book in.

"I don't have the personal experience that Shirley has but I would certainly endorse what she's saying," she said.

"I'm very much into being proactive with health and that's easier than ever with this wonderful new BreastScreen facility.

"When you have all those resources available, provided free of charge, you should take the opportunity to make your health a priority.

"Having a breast screen is nothing to be frightened of and in reality we're asking women to take 30 minutes every two years to have a breast screen. It's a very private process, it's free and it's fast, so we should all take advantage of it."

FREE SCREEN

Where: 61 Ruthven Street, Toowoomba

How: Appointments take less than 30 minutes

Who: Free screening for all women aged 40 and over

When: To book call 13 20 50.


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