Local women are failing to make use of the free BreastScreen Victoria mobile screening service which has arrived in Pakenham for the first time.
Radiographers aim to screen 1337 local women at the van by January 31, 2014. However, demand for the service has been low.
“We are concerned that bookings are filling very slowly. We’d encourage women aged 50 and over to make sure they ring 13 20 50 and make an appointment,” said BreastScreen Victoria CEO Vicki Pridmore.
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.
“The new service is in response to population data which shows an increase in women ageing into the program in the area, so we know the women are there,” said Ms Pridmore.
BreastScreen Victoria particularly encourages women aged 50 to 74 to screen as it is proven they are at most benefit from the program. Women from the age of 40 are also eligible for a free mammogram once every two years.The latest BreastScreen Victoria participation rate report card for Bass released yesterday, shows that 54 per cent of women aged between 50 and 69 living in the area took advantage of the free service in 2011/13, which is lower than the 70 per cent target.
For Bass MP Ken Smith, the importance of early detection is close to his heart as his daughter-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer.