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Path to better health for Aboriginal women

A workshop series on preventative health care for Aboriginal women aged from 40 will be repeated in other areas of South Western Sydney Local Health District following the success of its pilot program in Liverpool.

Karen Beetson, the district’s deputy director of Aboriginal health, says the women who participated in the workshops were scheduled for a breast screen at the BreastScreen NSW George Street, Liverpool, premises on national close the gap day.

“Close the gap is about achieving health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and this series of workshops encourages women to make their health a priority and book a mammogram,” Ms Beetson said.

“With one in seven women in NSW developing breast cancer in their lifetime, we’re sending the strong message that early detection plays a vital role in surviving cancer. A breast screen or mammogram is the best way for women to find breast cancer early. 

 “We know early detection increases the chance of survival while reducing the likelihood of invasive treatment, such as mastectomy or chemotherapy.

“These women who have taken part in the first series of workshops are not only ensuring a healthier future for themselves, they are providing an example for their friends and family to follow.”

Health equality: Karen Lonsdale, Deborah Lonsdale, Michelle Turvey, Irene Nain and Elizabeth Kinchela.

Encouragingly screening rates are slowly improving, but Aboriginal women in NSW aged between 50 and 74 are still screening at a lower rate (45.7 percent) than the general population (53.2 percent).

Ms Beetson said the workshops offered a holistic approach to Aboriginal health within a cultural and historic context, highlighting the importance of attending for a recommended two-yearly screening for Aboriginal women aged 40 to 75.  

“They covered the importance of breast, bowel and cervical cancer screening along with the benefits of a healthy lifestyle,” Ms Beetson said. 

To book a mammogram with BreastScreen NSW phone 13 20 50 or book at  breastscreen.nsw.gov.au

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