To mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Aboriginal women in Warrnambool can get free breast screens - the best way to find cancer early and save lives.
BreastScreen Victoria's hot pink van, known as "Marjorie" is visiting Gunditjmara Aboriginal Cooperative at Harris Reserve to give free breast screens to women aged 50 and over from 14-18 October.
The first 50 women to receive a mammogram will receive a free cultural screening shawl to wear during the procedure, and to take home with them.
These shawls have been developed to make breast screening more comfortable for Aboriginal women across Victoria, with Warrnambool's shawl featuring a design by local Warlpiri artist, Rebecca Clayton.
Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea will also be provided throughout the day.
BreastScreen Victoria CEO, Vicki Pridmore, said that the initiative was a culmination of months of hard work and planning with project partner, the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO).
"We hope that the beautiful shawls created by Aboriginal artists as a part of this project can assist women screening to feel comfortable, welcome and respected," Ms Pridmore said.
We hope that the beautiful shawls created by Aboriginal artists as a part of this project can assist women screening to feel comfortable, welcome and respected.- BreastScreen Victoria CEO, Vicki Pridmore
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Aboriginal women in Victoria. A breast screen can find cancer as small as a grain of rice, long before a woman or her doctor can see or feel anything.
Typically, women aged between 50 and 74 should have a breast screen every two years - the best way to find breast cancer early, when treatment is most effective.
All breast screens are with a female radiographer, in a friendly and safe environment. Clients don't need a doctor's referral or Medicare card, and only take 10 minutes.
Ms Pridmore is encouraging Aboriginal women aged 50 to 74 to take advantage of the van's visit to town.
"When found early, breast cancer can be treated very successfully. This visit has been organised with our partners at VACCHO and Gunditjmara to make sure that Aboriginal women in Warrnambool have access to a potentially life-saving breast screen," she said.
"The vans use the highest quality digital radiography machines to ensure that women receive the best service, regardless of their location."
The BreastScreen Victoria van will be at Gunditjmara Aboriginal Cooperative at Harris Reserve 14-18 October. Appointments can be made online at breastscreen.org.au or by calling 13 20 50. Alternatively, Gunditjmara can be contacted on (03) 5564 3344.
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