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7 Sep 2020

BreastScreen SA is celebrating its 2 millionth breast screen, saving the lives of more than 12,000 South Australian women over the past 30 years.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing, the Hon Stephen Wade MLC, said the program has provided screening to more than 370,000 women with the aim of diagnosing breast cancer at an early stage, before it can be felt.

“Breast cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer deaths in women and increases in frequency with age, with one-in-nine South Australian women diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 75,” Minister Wade said.

“It is impossible to tell if you have breast cancer in the early stages, and nine-out-of-10 women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history.

“BreastScreen SA is a vital program for South Australian women because it increases the breast cancer survival rate, with research showing women who have regular screens reduce their chance of dying from breast cancer by up to 40 per cent.”

BreastScreen SA Program Director, Niamh Wade, said the significant milestone reflects on the success of the program during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have been positively overwhelmed by the response of South Australian women who have chosen to continue with their regular screening despite the pandemic,” Ms Wade said.

“It’s fantastic to see so many women taking a proactive approach to their health at such an uncertain time and we feel extremely lucky that we have been able to achieve this significant milestone despite the issues caused by COVID-19.”

Mrs Kimberley Alver was the recipient of the program’s 2 millionth screening mammogram, after attending the service’s Marion Screening Clinic in August.

“I have had friends with breast cancer, and I know how important early detection is in treating it sooner and having a better outcome,” Mrs Alver said.

“I found screening easy, it was painless and only took a few minutes of my time.”

Since its inception in 1989, BreastScreen SA has contributing to increased survival rates for breast cancer here in South Australia. Clinical Director, Dr Michelle Reintals says that those South Australian women who participate in the program enjoy a 40% reduction in the mortality rate for breast cancer over those who don’t have regular screening.

“We know that early detection plays a significant role in improving the health outcomes of women diagnosed with breast cancer,” Dr Reintals said.

“Detecting breast cancer at an early stage, before it can be felt, can increase a woman’s options for simpler treatments and maximise her chances for making a full recovery.”

BreastScreen SA currently has seven fixed clinics within the Adelaide metropolitan area, with three mobile screening units currently visiting Mount Barker, Tanunda and Naracoorte.

The service also has two temporary pop-up clinics operating in Port Lincoln and Victor Harbor until late 2020.

Women aged 50 to 74 can make a free appointment by calling BreastScreen SA on 13 20 50.