“I’m the pusher,” Karan Miller admits.
“I went for my last breast screen with two other ladies I talked into going.”
Last month, Karan decided that is would be her sister, Glenda, who should join her at the BreastScreen Victoria clinic at Broadmeadows. Karan received her reminder letter a year ago, but while her “life’s had a big change”, and it’s been difficult to allow herself to be a priority, she decided to make the appointment count, by encouraging Glenda to resume screening after a hiatus.
“I am trying to get her to look after herself as well,” Karan explains. “It definitely helps to have those support structures in place.”
Asked what her expectations would be of her appointment, the first word that Glenda offers is “pain,” but following her 10-minute appointment she admits “…it’s nothing like that – it’s easy,” and she is relieved.
“The radiographer was gentle, and everyone here at the clinic is lovely. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all, to be honest.”
A scare following the removal of a benign lump 15 years earlier left Glenda naturally feeling a lot of trepidation about breast screening, and she resorted to “self-doctoring” in the ensuing years.
“I’ve felt nothing,” says Glenda of her self-examinations. “But I realise - Karan’s made me make other appointments as well, and things have come out, I’ve had a few health issues - I have to do this, too. Today was the day.
“I wouldn’t have done it on my own; I don’t think. She’s been a great encouragement.”
Glenda suspects she’s like many other women, allowing life to get in the way of routine health checks. “There’s always family commitments, circumstances, fear,” she says.
Karan says that she looks forward to the peace of mind that comes with her results letter in the mail.
“When you get that all-clear letter, there’s that little bit less that you have to worry about when you’re getting older and worrying about your health. You’ve got to look after yourself. People love you and people need you.”
While the thought of returning to the BreastScreen Victoria program didn’t at first, sit comfortably with Glenda, there might be another family member with her in two years’ time.
“I would go with them if it made them feel more at ease. I’m trying to encourage my daughters to do it. If I take that step, they might just follow,” says Glenda. “Women don’t look after themselves enough.”