Photo: Alex Schenkel (left) presenting Lois Fisher with the gift voucher at Lois’s workplace, Salvation Army Homecare in Seddon Street, Hamilton, where she is a nurse educator.
When Lois Fisher got a phone call from Breastscreen Midland coordinator Alex Schenkel, she immediately thought there was something up with her recent mammogram screen.
“I’d already got the letter saying I was clear, so I was surprised to get a call and a wee bit nervous.”
That feeling was soon replaced with relief and pleasure as she was told she had won the random draw for a $200 gift voucher as part of the DHB’s MyMAMAgram campaign to promote breast screen bookings through May and June. Lois’s name was drawn from the list of all eligible women who had a breast screen mammogram in Hamilton between 20 April and 20 June 2015.
A mammogram is a digital x-ray of each breast to help early detection of breast cancer. Women from 45 to 69 years old are eligible for a free mammogram every two years as part of the national breast screening programme.
For Lois, getting her two-yearly mammogram is a routine now. She started when she was eligible and has done it regularly ever since.
Last year Lois lost her sister to breast cancer, so there is also a very personal reason to have a regular check.
She has nothing but praise for the service. “I didn’t have to wait, and you are always well looked after. The staff put you at ease. The room is warm and the mammogram is done tastefully so you don’t feel embarrassed at all,” she says.
“There is a bit of discomfort but it is very short-lived, and it is well worth it.”
Of every 1000 women who get a breast screen in the national programme, about 950 will get a clear result.
If something is picked up or if the screens are not clear enough, a small number women are recalled for further checks – and even then 9 out of every 10 women recalled will not have breast cancer.
A mammogram can show changes and abnormalities (something unusual) in your breasts long before anything can be seen or felt. It is the best available test to detect small cancers at an early stage when there is a very good chance of successful treatment.
In the Waikato, breast screen mammograms are offered at Waikato Hospital’s Breast Care Centre, and at Anglesea Imaging Centre/Women’s Clinic, while women in rural areas can access the breast screening programme via scheduled visits from the mobile screening unit. Bookings are essential unless “drop-ins” are specifically advertised.
- To book a free mammogram if you are eligible: 0800 270 200
- Previous media releases about the MyMAMAgram campaign