BreastScreen NSW is encouraging women to get together to book a mammogram in the lead up to Breast Cancer Awareness Month

HERE TO HELP: Nurse Kathy Gers and radiographer Wini Posthumus. Photos: JENNIFER HOAR

HERE TO HELP: Nurse Kathy Gers and radiographer Wini Posthumus. Photos: JENNIFER HOAR

BreastScreen NSW is encouraging women to get together with a friend to book a mammogram in the lead up to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, to help save lives.

More than one in eight women in NSW will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, but almost half of women aged 50-74 are not getting their recommended two yearly mammograms.

Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) Breastscreen Manager Meg O'Brien said that by taking the time to talk to a friend about screening and arranging a mammogram together, could not only save their life, but your own.

"We know there are many reasons why women might be missing their mammogram - they put it off because they are too busy, they are nervous about going, or nervous about the results," she said.

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"By encouraging a friend to go with them, women can ensure that making the appointment becomes a priority. It also means that they will have someone to support them on the day, and as they get the results."

The Cancer Institute NSW figures show that in the WNSWLHD 221 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year alone.

Chief Cancer Officer of the Cancer Institute, Professor David Currow said that around 60 per cent of breast cancers are diagnosed in women aged 50-74.

"Our research shows that a lot of women believe that breast cancer will never happen to them," he said.

"A regular mammogram every two years is the best way for women in this age group to find breast cancer early. By detecting breast cancer early, breast screening not only saves lives but also reduces the likelihood of a woman needing invasive treatment."

An appointment with BreastScreen NSW is free and takes about 20 minutes in total.