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27 Mar 2020

BreastScreen SA has suspended its breast cancer screening program to protect the health of clients and staff during the COVID-19 outbreak.

BreastScreen SA General Manager, Niamh Wade, said services will initially be suspended for a period of three months.

“The closure will affect all seven of BreastScreen SA’s metropolitan screening clinics, its three mobile screening units, and its dedicated assessment clinic,” Ms Wade said.

“This was a difficult decision, but it was made to protect the immediate health and wellbeing of BreastScreen SA’s clients and staff.

“The closure is a precautionary measure and is not due to a suspected case of COVID-19 at its facilities.

“Clients who have a current booking with BreastScreen SA will be contacted via phone and SMS to have that appointment postponed until services resume.

“Results for any woman who has had a breast screen recently will be available within the next two weeks.

“Services are in place to ensure any woman requiring assessment and further testing will be offered a suitable appointment.

“Once services resume, appointments will be prioritised for those women who will be due for their regular screening mammogram during the suspension period.

“The mobile screening units will return to their current locations to complete their visit, while extended screening hours will be offered to ensure no rural and remote women are disadvantaged.”

BreastScreen SA Clinical Director, Dr Michelle Reintals, said while most women will not be adversely impacted by the temporary closure, all women are reminded to be breast aware as breast cancer can develop at any time.

“This includes taking notice of the look and feel of your breasts, and if you notice something unusual, like a new or changing breast lump, nipple discharge or any other change that is not normal for you, please see your GP as soon as possible to have it investigated,” Dr Reintals said.

“BreastScreen SA is deeply sorry for the impact this service closure will have on clients, but it must adhere to the social distancing regulations and the safety of its clients and staff.

“Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.”