Today is World Cancer Day, a global initiative to raise awareness and work together to improve cancer prevention, detection, and treatment. This year’s World Cancer Day theme is ‘Close the Care Gap’ and raises awareness of the equity gap in accessing healthcare that affects many communities.
At BreastScreen Victoria, we focus on the health outcomes of all our clients. Yet participation rates show that some communities find it harder to access our services than others. That’s why we run several community programs to address barriers that may exist in accessing our services so that we can bring breast screening to more Victorians. Underscreened communities include Aboriginal people, Victorians from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, people with a disability, LGBTI+ and trans and gender diverse (TGD) people, and people in rural and remote areas.
The number of Aboriginal women who have regular breast screens rises each year. We want to increase screening rates by ensuring our services are accessible, culturally appropriate and welcoming. BreastScreen Victoria works with the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) across the state to reduce barriers to breast screening through ‘The Beautiful Shawl Project’.
Victorians from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
We offer translated resources, interpreters, and group information sessions and bookings to bring breast screening to more eligible Victorians from diverse backgrounds. Our Bilingual Client Contact Officers engage clients in their preferred language.
In the screening period of 2018-2020, over 83,000 culturally and linguistically diverse clients aged 50-74 screened.
Victorians with a disability
Most people with a disability can have a breast screen. Our clinics and the mobile screening service are accessible. We can offer longer appointments and provide an extra radiographer to assist. Auslan interpreters are also available.
LGBTI+ and TGD people
While all of our clinics are inclusive, we hold regular, dedicated LGBTI+ community screening sessions called Rainbow Sessions, where additional support and time is available. These breast screening sessions create a safe space for people to screen individually or as a group among other LGBTI+ people.
We are committed to ensuring our services are inclusive, welcoming, and safe for TGD people. We offer information and resources about breast/chest health, breast cancer, and screening for TGD people.
People in rural and remote areas
We want to make sure those in rural and remote areas don’t miss out on potentially life-saving breast screens. Nina and Marjorie are BreastScreen Victoria’s state-of-the-art mobile breast screening services. The mobile screening services travel around the state to ensure rural and regional women have easy access to the service close to home.
Spread the word
BreastScreen Victoria Staff and members of our Consumer Network are spreading the word about World Cancer Day. Why don’t you join us?
Take action on World Cancer Day. Share your story and start a conversation, or add your voice in solidarity to ‘Close the Care Gap’ and make cancer prevention, detection, and treatment accessible to all. Don’t forget to use the hashtags #WorldCancerDay and #ClosetheCareGap.