“I felt a lump”

“I felt a lump”

BreastScreen WA’s mobile service is offering easy, free mammograms in Serpentine in March.

A mobile breast screening service is making its way to Serpentine in March, and a local breast cancer survivor is urging eligible women to head down for a free check-up.

From March 4 to March 24, BreastScreen WA’s mobile service is offering free mammograms to women aged 40 and over, without the hassle of heading to the hospital.

Seville Grove survivor Melanie James, who contracted breast cancer at 38, said her tragic personal encounters with the disease have made her a spokesperson for early screening.

“We have a lot of tragedy with cancer in our family and it’s taken me a long time to be able to talk about it,” said Melanie.

“I was 38 when I was diagnosed, my mum was 50, one of my Aunties died when she was 47 – she only had 18 months to live,” said Melanie.

My other Auntie had it at the same time as my Mum – they were twins, and she is the only surviving sister,” she said.

Melanie said she knew she was at risk, and began regular check-ups once her Mum was diagnosed.

“As soon as I felt a lump, I was at the doctors the next day. If I didn’t get it early, which is the importance of these mammograms, my story might have been completely different,” said Melanie.

“I’m very open with my friends because a lot of people ignore it. My Auntie left it and by the time it got to her she only had 18 months to live. A lot of people are too scared,” she said.

But Melanie said”I the mobile service makes the process easier on women.

“These services save lives,” said Melanie.

“A lot of people are scared to go to hospitals, if you go to the mobile service you can take your family with you, it feels less invasive going to a service like that, and it’s quicker, too,” she said.

“The women who work at these services are so supportive, they are there to help you,” she said.

BreastScreen WA Medical Director Dr Liz Wylie said appointments usually take only 20 minutes, and booking is easy.

“You make your booking either by ringing up or booking online,” said Dr Wylie.

“You will get SMS reminders and then on the day of the appointment, you’ll have your images taken and they will be electronically transferred to our reading centre,” she said.

“The mammograms will be read by at least two radiologists and if it’s normal, we will send the results letter to the client and invite them to have another mammogram in two years’ time,” she said.

If the results are abnormal, experienced nursing staff will contact the patient to discuss the next steps.

“We know women who screen are 60 per cent less likely to develop breast cancer than those who don’t,” she said.

“One in seven Australian women will get breast cancer their life, so we really urge women to take this opportunity and have a free mammogram,” she said.

Dr Wylie said women who have not received the vaccine are still eligible for the mobile screening service, but that wearing masks is a requirement.

The BreastScreenWA Mobile Service will be in Serpentine from March 4 to March 24.

To book an appointment call 132050 or visit breastscreen.health.wa.gov.au/Breast-screening/Making-an-appointment/Book-Online