Mammogram saves Shelley's life

Published 23 August 2012 By
Mammogram saves Shelley's life

A mammogram organised by law firm Baker & McKenzie during work hours may have saved the life of one of its employees.

In May 2008, legal secretary Shelley Pascoe was one of eight women who signed up to have a mammogram at BreastScreen Victoria’s St Vincent’s hospital clinic. The firm made a group booking during work time and provided the women with taxi vouchers to attend.

The Sandringham woman was called back for assessment after her appointment, and was told she had three tumors in her breast.

“I do recall walking out on the street in complete shock, as there is no history of breast cancer in my family,” Ms Pascoe said.

“It shows it can happen to anyone, even if you think you’ve got no risk factors the simple fact is that if you are a woman over the age of 40, you should be screened.”

The 51 year old single parent of three boys is grateful for the ongoing support of her employer through chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

“The salary continuance policy that the firm provides meant that I continued to receive the majority of my salary and the firm dealt with the insurers in a seamless fashion, which was critical to me at a stressful time,” she said. 

Baker & McKenzie Partner Richard Lustig said the company initiative is simply part of its values of being a responsible employer and member of the community.

“It’s important that whether you’re talking about breast screening, flu shots or health checks, to take the time and effort to do more than the minimum,” he said.

The firm was happy to welcome Ms Pascoe back to work in February 2009, initially on a part time basis before moving to a full time basis.

“She’s a core member of our team and we are delighted to have made a difference.”

Regular screening mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early, before any symptoms are noticed and when treatment is likely to be most successful. 

“Women might be worried that something will be found, but as far as I’m concerned I’m cured and I don’t expect it to come back. Early detection is the key,” Ms Pascoe said.

BreastScreen Victoria CEO Vicki Pridmore encourages other employers to offer a similar workplace initiative to ensure women are able to have a mammogram once every two years during work hours.

“Group bookings are available and the Rose clinic at David Jones in the city can also take 10 minute appointments during lunch breaks,” Ms Pridmore said.

The screening program targets women 50 to 69 years, as this is the age group most at risk of developing breast cancer. However, the program also accepts women in their 40s or 70 years and over.

To make an appointment call 13 20 50. 

View Shelley's story.

Media contact: Sharny McLean, Statewide Media Liaison Officer, (03) 8665 4183 or 0413798327.

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