Keeping Cancer at Bay

6 November 2012

A PAIR of politicians have called on all women in the Altona and Williamstown electorates to have regular mammograms.

Last week, Altona MP Jill Hennessy and Williamstown MP Wade Noonan both released figures which showed the amount of female residents who have participated in the BreastScreen program.

The free breast cancer checking program is offered through BreastScreen Victoria for women aged 50 to 69.

“I am encouraged to see that 47 per cent of women in the Williamstown (electorate) are having a regular mammogram every two years,” Mr Noonan said.

“However, this is lower than the state participation rate, and women need to continue their commitment to screening every two years because finding cancer early saves lives.”

The Williamstown electorate consists of Altona East, Brooklyn, Newport, Seaholme, Spotswood, Williamstown and Williamstown North plus parts of Altona, Altona North and Yarraville.

Ms Hennessy said 53.8 per cent of females in the Altona electorate – which includes Altona, Altona Meadows, Laverton, Laverton North, Point Cook and parts of Altona North and Hoppers Crossing - were having a mammogram every two years.

The state average for women who have regular mammograms is 70 per cent.

Last week, the medical journal ‘Lancet’ published an international study which showed breast cancer screening saves lives, but can also result in harmless tumours being ‘over-diagnosed’.

A British expert panel declared some cancers detected by screening might otherwise not develop - but ended up getting treated anyway.

The review said out of every 300,000 women aged 50 to 52 encouraged to have a mammogram annually, around one per cent would have cancer over-diagnosed within the next two decades.

There are more than 65 breast cancer screening clinics across Victoria including mobile vans and the Footscray Screening Clinic at 77 Paisley St, Footscray. Appointments are required. Call 13 20 50 or go to to register.

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