Breast Awareness Workshops
Breast Cancer Care WA facilitates free workshops across WA that educate about the importance of breast awareness and early detection. Topics discussed include;
What is breast cancer
What to look for and understanding what is normal for you
Statistical information and educating that breast cancer caught early is not a death sentence
What to do if you find a change in your breast
What happens when you come to Perth for treatment or exploratory procedures
When BreastScreen WA will next be in the area offering free screening
What local services are available
How Breast Cancer Care WA and the Indigenous Program Co-ordinator can provide support
Provision of information
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Recently I visited Wiluna, Leonora and Kalgoorlie to spread the breast awareness message and talk to local health providers about how we can support Indigenous women diagnosed in their region.
As I travel around WA I often get asked “is breast cancer hereditary?”
Every woman has some risk of developing breast cancer, regardless of age or ethnicity. Nine out of 10 women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history, however the more relatives you have with breast cancer, the higher your risk is of developing it.
Breast cancer is still the most common cancer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women but with early detection, survival rates increase dramatically. This is why our workshops are so important. We talk about the importance of self-examinations, in between two yearly mammograms and following through with treatment if you are diagnosed with breast cancer. Sadly this doesn’t always happen due to fear or lack of support in the city, but if women know that Breast Cancer Care WA will be there to support them, hopefully this will happen less often.
Past community visits
Indigenous Breast Cancer Workshops were held at Hedland Well Women’s Centre on December 13 and 14, 2012. On the first day, 14 ladies attended including two clients, June and Wendy, currently receiving support from Breast Cancer Care WA.
Attendees took part in a presentation and also listened to June and Wendy share their breast cancer stories. This was very empowering for the ladies and sent a strong message about the importance of regular self-breast examination and bi-annual mammograms for women over 40.
On day two, 18 women came to the Well Women’s Centre. After hearing our presentation, one woman advised that her mother who lives in Marble Bar has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer so she was pleased to hear about the services we can provide and would be passing our information brochures on.
Our visit to the Pilbara
In May 2012, Denise (one of our breast care nurses) and I spent three days in Newman and Jigalong, talking to locals about breast awareness and the importance of early detection.
On day one we set up in the Newman shopping centre and talked to many Indigenous and non-Indigenous women. We reminded them how important it is to have a mammogram every two years once over the age of 40 and gave them brochures that show how easy it is be breast aware and do regular self-examinations in between – even if you’re under 40!
Day two we drove 170 kilometres to Jigalong, an Aboriginal community on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert. With the local language being Martu, we had a translator with us to help deliver the breast awareness workshop. It was a fun afternoon with lots of laughter, we suspect some of which was at our expense. We’ve been invited back and next time will team up with the local TAFE to get the message out to even more people.
Day three was massive with a Health Promotions Expo during the day followed up with a quiz night in the evening. The special guest for both events was hilarious comedian and Indigenous icon Mary G, also known as the Black Queen of the Kimberley. The crowd were in fits of laughter as she delivered many important health messages in her very unique way.