“Losing a friend to breast cancer was my trigger for regular breastscreens.”
In 2003 I lost a very good friend to breast cancer and I think that was the trigger for me to start having regular breastscreens.
I’m now 50 and have been going to BreastScreen Queensland for six years. My friend was back in Bosnia, where I came from. Hers was a very aggressive form of cancer and she was not in the best of care there after the war. She was in such pain and gone within the year.
The same year I lost my father who had Alzheimer’s. He had been very ill and bedridden and was not expected to live. In a way, I had been prepared for his death because it was expected. It was different with my friend. It was very hard to accept.
I think the fact my friend was only 42, and of my generation, that it hit me hard. My friend was sporty and she looked after herself. Sometimes I think it was pure stress from the war.
The fact is everyone has lost someone to breast cancer so not thinking about or taking time to have a breastscreen is just putting your head in the sand. It won’t help you in the long run.
For awhile I relied on self examination and check-ups but you can’t be confident that it will detect anything unless its very obvious and that might be too late. When you weigh it up, breastscreening is by far the best way to go. Yes, it can be uncomfortable, or painful even, but it’s worth it. It can help detect the smallest of cancers early.
I have a lot to do with CALD communities (culturally linguistic and diverse). I don’t have a problem talking about health issues but in some cultures there is a stigma about chronic disease.
I think it is important to spread the breastscreening message across all communities. In fact, I think all women should be encouraged to talk about it and be aware about breast cancer. By connecting with each other comes support and knowledge and the opportunity to lessen someone’s suffering. I’d tell women don’t delay. Finding time to have a breastscreen every two years is not much.
Last reviewed 1 September 2020 Last updated 1 September 2020