Breast Screening Vital for Indigenous Women
October is international Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but Congress Alukura women’s health service is getting in early to spread the message of healthy breasts.
This Friday, 14 September, ladies from the Alukura health service will be holding a stall in the Yeperenye Shopping Centre from 11am until 2pm.
The purpose of the stall is to take bookings for Aboriginal women aged 45 to 69 years old to receive breast screens at the Percy Court centre from 8-12 October. The screening will be run in conjunction with breastscreenNT, a component of BreastScreen Australia. The stall also offers women the chance to find out more about breast screening, ask questions about women’s health and meet some of the Alukura staff.
This is the second consecutive year that breast screening has taken place at Alukura, following on from last year’s successful week of screening.
“In 2011, we saw more than 100 women present for breast screening over the course of a week,” said Alukura Branch Manager, Sheralee Fitz.
“It’s so important for women to have their screenings, as early detection of any abnormalities is the best way to reduce the rate of death by breast cancer.”
Incidences of breast cancer among Indigenous women are significantly lower than non-Indigenous women in the NT, however mortality rates are as high; Indigenous women die almost as often from breast cancer as non-Indigenous women. Factors which contribute to this include reduced access to services in remote and rural areas (including screening services), late stage diagnosis, presence of infectious or chronic disease which reduces the likelihood of receiving treatment and language and communication barriers.
“Alukura is a women-only place, with Aboriginal Liaison Officers working alongside GPs, nurses and midwives to ensure that the health care provided is culturally appropriate,” Ms Fitz added.
Last year, women travelled from Hermannsburg, Santa Teresa, Jay Creek, Areyonga, Santa Teresa and Tennant Creek, as well as from Alice Springs town camps to receive breast screens. This year, it is anticipated that more than 120 women will receive screenings at Alukura.
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