“Women are realising they have to put their health first”
I was working for BreastScreen Queensland when I had my first mammogram. I had just turned 40 and I think there was some sort of work drive to make sure everyone had their mammograms. As I had turned 40 I was eligible.
I wasn't nervous about having one. I was very comfortable about it because it related to my work and I was talking to women about it all the time. I had my second one in 2002 but this time I was called back for assessment. You never think of these things happening to you so I was pretty shocked.
It turned out that everything was fine but in that short time I had almost planned my funeral, even down to the songs. Over the top I know, but it certainly makes you think about your mortality. I got another call back in 2006 and ended up having to have a cyst drained. When I had my next mammogram in 2008 everything was fine.
My experiences have definitely impacted on how I approach my work. Now, when I talk to women I better understand their concerns or fears and can talk them through it. I think I'm more empathetic.
I appreciate that women are often reluctant about having a breastscreen because they think if they do, breast cancer is sure to be found. It's the fear of the unknown. But you really can't think like that.
You can't put it off. My aunty was having her breastscreen every two years and then when her sister got sick she stopped for a while. Then it was too late. You have to keep going no matter what. I know that from my own experiences.
Your health is a priority. I make all my friends go and they've all come around. I've only one friend who is still not listening but I haven't given up. Generally, I think women are realising they have to put their health first and take care of themselves.
Last reviewed 1 September 2020 Last updated 1 September 2020