Some of Australia’s most talented and influential women, including Kerri-Anne Kennerley, Julie McCrossin and Professor Sanchia Aranda, joined forces today to pledge their commitment to increase breast screening rates, which currently sit at less than 50 per cent among women aged 50-74.
This is despite new research showing that 95 per cent of women agree that a mammogram may save their life. The ‘My Reason to Screen’ awareness campaign aims to turn this knowledge into action – with well-known faces leading the charge.
The breakfast launch, opened by NSW Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner, saw female influencers in business and media come together to share their experiences and pledge to spread the word about the importance of having a mammogram every two years.
Kerri-Anne Kennerley told guests, “Research shows that ‘lack of time’ is the most common reason women don’t have their two-yearly mammogram. By making a pledge and identifying a personal reason to screen – whether it’s being there for family, seeing a friend experience cancer, or simply living a long and healthy life – we can help keep screening a top priority.”
Kennerley, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, says she is a perfect example of how a busy lifestyle can get in the way of taking care of your health. “When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, it had been three years since my last screening mammogram. Luckily I noticed the lump quite early, but if I’d had my mammogram when it was due, the cancer may have been picked up even earlier.”
Calling on the influential women in the room to pledge not only to participate in breast screening themselves, but to actively spread the message through their networks, Professor Sanchia Aranda, Deputy CEO of the Cancer Institute of NSW, addressed the impact that talkability has on screening rates.
Professor Aranda explained, “When someone in the public eye speaks about their own breast cancer journey, we see a significant spike in calls to BreastScreen. Through selflessly sharing their personal stories, women like Kerri-Anne, Kylie Minogue and Gina Riley have made a real difference. We now want to ensure that it doesn’t take a cancer diagnosis to get women talking about breast screening.”
Since the establishment of the BreastScreen program in 1991, breast cancer deaths in Australia have been reduced by up to 28 per cent.
NSW Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner said, “A woman diagnosed today with breast cancer in NSW has among the highest chances of survival in the world. However, we know that early detection is the key to survival.
“Through the BreastScreen NSW program, women across the State have access to a free breast screening service that exists to detect breast cancer as early as possible. The current survival rate for cancer caught at their earliest stage is as much as 97 per cent.”
Women are encouraged to visit www.facebook.com/breastscreennsw where they can share the viral pledge and tag their loved ones as their ‘Reason to Screen’.
Women can register for a screening appointment on the Facebook page, or by visiting www.bsnsw.org.au.