Bringing breast screening to more Mandarin speakers

Passionate about sharing the importance of breast screening with the Mandarin-speaking community, Kelly says there can be barriers to getting a screen.

Kelly had been getting regular breast screens before moving to Australia. 

“When I lived in China, I had regular breast checks. They found a small lump in my right breast at one of these checks. The hospital investigated a breast tissue sample and found it was not cancer. I was so lucky. If I hadn’t had the regular health check, they would not have found the breast lump because I had no symptoms or pain.”

Kelly asked about breast screening when she moved to Australia in 2011 and began receiving letters from BreastScreen Victoria inviting her to screen every two years. While Kelly is one of many enthusiastic participants in our program, we know that women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds typically screen for breast cancer less often. 

Engaging women in their preferred language can be up to 10 times more effective in getting them to screen. With the help of our bilingual client contact officers, we communicate with clients in-language via phone and SMS and hold dedicated screening sessions with interpreters at Screening Services. 

Now a part of BreastScreen Victoria’s Consumer Network, Kelly is passionate about demystifying the process and promoting the benefits of screening to her community. The Mandarin speaker says the language barrier and concern about finding cancer may prevent some people from accessing our services.

“I think the Chinese community needs more education about breast screening, let them understand it affects not only women but also the whole family. In Australia, breast screening is free. We need to spend 10 minutes doing it. Also, the radiographer will be female. It’s easy and convenient!”

Kelly tells people the screening process can be a little bit uncomfortable, but they’ll be looked after.

“The radiographer is very experienced, very friendly, and caring. The reception staff also is very friendly. I found it to be a safe experience. I have told all my female friends how important breast screening is. It could save your life.”

View and download our resources in Mandarin.