Family history only accounts for fraction of breast cancers

APPROXIMATELY 225 women living in the Northern NSW Local Health District are diagnosed with breast cancer each year but only one in two eligible women across the state are receiving their regular mammogram through BreastScreen NSW, new research has shown. 

Women in the NNSW LHD are being urged to have their regular breast screen even if they have no family history of breast cancer, as 9 in 10 women diagnosed with the disease have no hereditary links.

The call comes as the NNSW LHD marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month throughout October, Director of BreastScreen NSW, Northern NSW LHD, Mid North Coast LHD, Jane Walsh said.

"The majority of breast cancers are diagnosed in women with no family history, which means it is absolutely vital that all women aged 50-74 receive their regular two-yearly mammogram," Ms Walsh said.

"If your cancer is picked up by BreastScreen you are almost half as likely to need a mastectomy  because the regular mammograms can pick up breast cancers early, giving women the best chance for less invasive treatment and a good outcome.

"If breast cancers go undetected until a woman shows symptoms, treatment can be more difficult and invasive and the chances of recovery and survival are not as good," Jane Walsh said.

"If you've been putting off having a mammogram, use Breast Cancer Awareness Month as an opportunity to make an appointment and encourage other women in your life to do the same.

"Twenty minutes every two years could save your life."

To book your free mammogram call 13 20 50 

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