When Nina and Marjorie pull into town they tend to turn heads. The bright pink vans – named in honour of radiologists Associate Professor Nina Sacharias and the late Dr Marjorie Dalgarno – traverse the state ensuring women living in regional Victoria have access to breast screening services close to home.
There are also 41 permanent breast screening clinics across Victoria, a situation Robyn Cole, 64, from Longwarry in Gippsland is very happy about.
Robyn, a volunteer BreastScreen Victoria ambassador says that we are very lucky in Victoria not only that breast screening is free, but that breast screening centres are so accessible.
I Googled it this morning and realised there aren’t many countries in the world where such a life-saving test is free, she says.
Robyn is a passionate advocate for getting screened because she has friends who had good outcomes because their breast cancer was picked up early thanks to a regular breast screen.
I have met women in their 80s who were picked up early and treated, she says.
So it’s really important that that you keep having your tests.
There’s no excuse not to be tested every two years. It doesn’t take long, it doesn’t hurt, the people in the clinic are really friendly, it’s only every two years, it’s easy to book an appointment, there are clinics everywhere – including the two mobile vans – it’s free, and most importantly, it could save your life.
Robyn, who travels 15 kilometres to West Gippsland Hospital in Warragul for her breast screens, says it’s important women keep having their two-yearly screen.
BreastScreen Victoria CEO Vicki Pridmore agrees that it is vital that women over the age of 50 keep having their two-yearly breast screens.
One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes, and the reality is that 75 per cent of those women are over the age of 50, she says.
Regular breast screens are the best way to find breast cancer early, before any symptoms are noticed and when treatment is likely to be most successful.