Mobile screening service screens more than 100 overdue clients in Cheltenham

Project Manager Liezl with MSS Radiographer Gina.

BreastScreen Victoria’s Mobile Screening Service (MSS) van is back on the road after bringing screening to the local community in Cheltenham. This is the first time that the MSS has visited the south-eastern suburb.

The visit was part of the Breast Cancer Screening Project 2021-23—an initiative funded by the South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network (SEMPHN) to boost breast screening numbers in the catchment.

BreastScreen Victoria has worked closely with SEMPHN since the project’s inception in 2018. Together, we’ve encouraged thousands of eligible people in the region to get a free breast screen between 50 and 74.

Along with taking the mobile screening van to new locations across the southeast, the 2021-23 project involves returning the van to sites from two years ago to encourage routine screening. We also engage with GPs and connect with culturally and linguistically diverse clients in the region to promote the importance of breast screening and support them to book.

While all eligible people were welcome to screen, our focus was on engaging those aged 50-74 who had never been to BreastScreen and clients who were overdue for their two-yearly screen.

A total of 226 clients screened on the Cheltenham van—75% of whom reside in the Kingston area. Almost 50% of people who screened in Cheltenham were previously considered overdue to screen, and 39% had never screened with us before.

Our Bilingual Health Promotion Officer, Gracy Wu, organised a group booking for Mandarin-speaking clients, along with our regular screening schedule.

“Eight clients screened on the van,” Gracy said. “They were very pleased to receive phone calls in Chinese to help them make an appointment, especially when they learned a Chinese-speaking staff member would be on the van to provide language assistance.”

A few clients noted that they had forgotten about breast screening due to the pandemic, so the in-language phone call was a welcome reminder.

Gracy interpreted on the day and ensured that all clients felt comfortable before, during and after their screen. Instructions were simplified in Mandarin to help screeners better understand directions from the radiographer. For example, Gracy used the Mandarin phrase for ‘hold’ to prompt people to hold their breath during their screen.

Feedback from Cheltenham has been fantastic. One client said, “The van was easy to find, and I got a park nearby. The staff is friendly, welcoming, helpful, and caring. I didn’t have to wait, and the test didn’t take long. The radiographer was friendly, answered questions and explained everything well.”

This service was supported by South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network.