Vital service BreastScreen NSW will gradually open its doors after they closed in early August due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The gradual re-opening of BreastScreen NSW clinics was announced at the September 28 11am COVID press conference by NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard and BreastScreen NSW Director Sarah McGill.
While the re-opening of services is welcomed news, women in the Southern Highlands, Southern Tablelands and South Coast will have to wait a little longer.
Currently, BreastScreen NSW has recommenced services in Northern NSW, Mid North Coast, and Upper New England Local Health Districts.
Ms McGill said BreastScreen NSW provided free mammograms to women "to detect breast cancer as early as possible before they can be seen and felt."
"Women who come to BreastScreen have no symptoms of breast cancer but come every two years to screen for signs," she said.
"Detecting breast cancer early means you can have better health outcomes."
However, Ms McGill added that services would resume shortly, on a case by case basis.
"We are working with other local health districts across the state to plan for reopening of services as soon as possible," she said.
A BreastScreen NSW spokesperson added that they would prioritise women who had their appointment cancelled to rebook their appointment as soon as it was possible.
"Please wait to be reinvited by BreastScreen NSW before contacting us on 132050," they said.
"We would like to thank you for your patience as it may take some time before all screening clinics across the state are open.
"We continue to urge any women experiencing breast symptoms to see their regular doctor without delay to get a referral for diagnostic testing, which continues to be the nationally recommended pathway for symptomatic women."
BreastScreen NSW has also implemented several safety measures to protect against the risk of transmission, these include:
- Precautionary questions around health and travel
- Limiting the number of people in the clinic
- Practising social distancing in clinic waiting rooms
- A minimal contact check-in process
- The use of personal protective equipment
- Cleaning of equipment and commonly used services.
It is now mandatory for all NSW Health staff to be double vaccinated by Tuesday, November 30, 2021.
According to data from 2020, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, while figures from the Breast Cancer Network Australia show that 19,998 women and 170 men will be diagnosed with a form of breast cancer.
Regular mammograms for women over the age of 50 and self-checks for both women and men can help save lives.
How to self check at home according to the Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA):
- Become familiar with the normal look and feel of your breasts.
- Check all parts of your breast, your armpits and up to your collarbone with the palm of your hand.
- Be aware of any changes that are different for you.
Signs and Symptoms:
- A new lump in your breast or underarm
- Irritation or dimpling of your breast skin
- Any change in the size or the shape of your breast
- Pain in any area of your breast
See a doctor straight away if you notice or feel any changes to your breast tissue, underarms or collarbone.
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