Pink letter provides timely reminder of breast health
Women living in and around the northside of Brisbane will soon receive a pink letter from BreastScreen Queensland with an appointment date, time and place for their potentially life-saving breast screen.
The trial aims to prompt women who have not participated in screening before to book in their first free breast screen. Breast cancer is a common cause of cancer death among Queensland women, second only to lung cancer.
BreastScreen Queensland’s Brisbane Northside Service Director Dr Jane Brazier said women who received the letter could call the Brisbane Northside Service on 3350 7444 or simply go online at www.breastscreen.qld.gov.au if they want to reschedule their appointment for another time or day that suits them.
“We are trialling the pink letter strategy to ensure more women over the age of 50, whose risk of breast cancer increases dramatically, are attending their free breast screen appointments as part of their health routine,” Dr Brazier said.
“A breast screen is the most effective method of detecting breast cancer at a very early stage even before a lump can be felt or seen.
“This is important because finding breast cancer at an early stage gives a woman the best possible chance for successful treatment and wellbeing.”
Dr Brazier acknowledged women are generally busy with work, children, school, childcare and home and they often put everyone else ahead of themselves.
“At the start of the year, women are encouraged to put their own health and wellbeing first by having regular breast screens every two years as this is still the most effective way to detect breast cancer early,” she said.
The Brisbane Northside Service participation rate is around 52 per cent which is below the state breast screening participation rate of 55 per cent.
In 2020, it is estimated that 20,168 Australians will be diagnosed with breast cancer. The risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer by the age 85 is one in seven for women.
“I encourage all women aged 50 to 74 years to put yourself at the top of your to-do list and book an appointment today,” Dr Brazier said.
BreastScreen Queensland provides free breast cancer screening to women aged 50 to 74, while women in their 40s and over the age of 75 can also access screening.
Women in the Metro North catchment area can book their free breast screen at their nearest service by calling 13 20 50 or online at www.breastscreen.qld.gov.au. No referral is needed.
BreastScreen Queensland is a ‘well women’s’ service which focuses on the early detection of breast cancer by screening the population of eligible well women. The service does not provide treatment for women who have breast cancer or possible breast cancer symptoms.
Women concerned about changes to their breasts are encouraged to see their GP as soon as possible.