Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Pink Ribbon Day – Women Urged To Undergo Breast Screening

The Minister for Family and Community Services and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women’s Issues, Senator Kay Patterson, today called on women to be vigilant in the fight against breast cancer and urged more women to undergo breast screening.

Addressing an official National Pink Ribbon Day breakfast, Senator Patterson said latest figures showed that from 1998-2002 an additional 180,000 women aged between 50 and 69 undertook breast screening.

“While this increase is encouraging, there are still too many women dying as a result of not detecting breast cancer early enough,” Senator Patterson said.

“Taking a simple mammogram test every two years could save many more lives.

“Pink Ribbon Day is an annual event where Australians are asked to wear a Pink Ribbon to show their support and raise funds to combat breast cancer.

“Although improvements have been made in detection, education and treatment of this disease, the causes of breast cancer are still not fully understood.

“As there is currently no means of preventing breast cancer, the focus on reducing deaths is to detect breast cancer as early as possible.

“One key way the Howard Government is fighting breast cancer is through the BreastScreen Australia program, which provides free mammograms every two years for women in the target age group of 50 to 69 years.

“Women aged over 40 are also eligible to attend BreastScreen Australia services. Women should call 13 20 50 every two years to book their free breast screening mammogram at a centre near them.

“By wearing a Pink Ribbon you will be showing your support for people affected by breast cancer and help raise funds for vital research, education and support services,” Senator Patterson said.

The National Breast Cancer Centre advises women to be aware of the normal look and feel of their breasts, and to see their doctor immediately should any unusual signs or symptoms occur.