So ... I received a Breastscreen NSW reminder for my 2 yearly mammogram!

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  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,733
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    hehe  Considering I was a bit of an angry ant when I wrote it ...... her reply (in italics) was quite Polite!!    (BTW - feel free for anyone wanting to add their two bits re Dense Breast Tissue to Naomi Coombe on the email below)

    Many thanks for your further queries/suggestions. 

    Please see attached BreastScreen Australia position statement regarding breast density & breast screening  (Click on PDF Link at the bottom.)

    Also please see the link below for contacting BreastScreen NSW for any comments you wish to make concerning our position in NSW with regards to disclosure of breast density.  Naomi Coombe (Program Manager) would be the contact person to direct your questions to.

    https://www.breastscreen.nsw.gov.au/contact-us/contact-us/

    I presume your suggestion of a tear off section is on the reminder letter that women receive to prompt a rescreen appointment?

    As we send out in excess of 50,000 reminder letters annually (and thankfully a very small proportion of those women are diagnosed with breast cancer between screens) then this may not be considered necessary.

    Having said that, I will certainly forward on your suggestion to our Marketing & Recruitment team for consideration. 

    Our target age for screening is 50-74 so we only remind women & advertise for women who are in that age group, however you are correct in saying that women from the age of 40 may choose to be screened in our Program. Younger women tend to have more dense breast tissue (therefore as you’ve alluded to, harder to diagnose) so we do not actively seek out this younger cohort.

    I have also passed on your concerns to our manager here in Hunter New England (Rebecca Delaporte) and she will be responding to you by mail. (cc’d in email)

    Once again I wish to thank you for your valuable feedback and suggestions.

    I wish all the best.



  • Flaneuse
    Flaneuse Member Posts: 899
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    @arpie There's a weird contradiction there: Younger women tend to have more dense breast tissue (therefore as you’ve alluded to, harder to diagnose) so we do not actively seek out this younger cohort.
    Like, we don't want to screen younger women because the process sucks for them. ??
  • Sister
    Sister Member Posts: 4,960
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    If the current screening process doesn't work for younger women (or older women with dense breasts) why is there not another screening method offered at Breastscreen.  Are mammograms the only game in town?  Of course not.
  • kmakm
    kmakm Member Posts: 7,974
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    @JJ70 See NSW Breast Screen letter above.
  • kmakm
    kmakm Member Posts: 7,974
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    It is a ridiculous weasel words response.
  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,733
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    Absolutely @Flaneuse   @Sister   @kmakm   @JJ70   grrrrrrr

    it is - RUBBISH!!!    Am I the only one who has ever 'alluded to' dense breast tissue being difficult to identify tumours with mammogram?   Apparently so!!  ??

    And 'THEY' (in numerous publications worldwide) 'allude' that breast density diminishes as you get older - which we all know is UTTER RUBBISH!!!!  BULLSHIT!

    On JJ's FB page "Can at 40. Do at 45"  I wrote this (as they say younger women have dense breasts, so more difficult to detect!):

    So ... once again, having dense breasts tissue will make it even MORE difficult to identify some Breast Cancer with a mammogram (in particular Invasive Lobular Cancer.) 'They' also say that Breast Density becomes LESS of an issue, the older that you become!! UTTER RUBBISH!!! I have always had 'lumpy breasts' and have had 'clear' mammograms until my GP found my tumours 6 months after my previous 'clear mammogram'! I am 66 & already been thru menopause. ASK THEM if you have dense breast tissue when you have your mammogram. If they say they are not allowed to tell you - DEMAND TO KNOW!!

  • AllyJay
    AllyJay Member Posts: 950
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    Sexually Active Comedians...also known as Fuck Wits"...
  • JJ70
    JJ70 Member Posts: 983
    edited March 2019
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    @arpie....love yr work.
    You might want to point out to BSNSW that they have one of the lowest participation rates in the country and perhaps if they stop excluding women that are eligible their rates would improve. (2018 data)😏
  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,733
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    Good one, @JJ70 - I wasn't aware of that!!   I couldn't believe that they said the 40-49rs 
    'didn't really count'!!!

    Let's stir them up, girls - doesn't matter what state you are in - it is just that your opinion COUNTS!!

    Now that the USA is advising their women of dense breast tissue - what excuse can they now have NOT TO advise Aussie women, country wide!

    Bombard them with emails saying that their arguments are not valid - and that they are actually CONTRIBUTING to worse diagnoses - as younger women with dense breast tissue are exactly those who need proper screening, not by ignoring them - and EVERYONE with dense breast tissue needs to be made aware of this vital fact!  
  • lrb_03
    lrb_03 Member Posts: 1,269
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    Crikey @JJ70. I didn't realise participation rates were so low!
    Is any allowance made in those stats for tjose of us now ineligible because of recent history of BC?
    I wasn't Breastscreen diagnosed, but don't plan on going there when my 5 years is up, as my breast density hasn't changed since diagnosis, so I don't think I'd ever trust one. And that's beside the fact that by getting it done privately,  I can see me doctor within 24-48 hours for the results
  • JJ70
    JJ70 Member Posts: 983
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    Yes Irb_03 the rates are pretty pathetic. At least 40% of women 50-74 do not screen across this country. I am not sure about allowances in those stats for those of us diagnosed. That seems to be different across the states too. In WA, if BS has detected your cancer, you get invited back ONE year after that screen date,  which is good for those women who cannot afford private screening, although is it most bulk-billed if you have had a BC diagnosis? Other states have a 5 year 'ineligible' period after diagnosis. Even though BS detected my cancer at a routine screen, I now want a 3D Tomo and an ultrasound every year.

    My theory is, if women were invited from 45 (as the data shows they should be) this may in turn increase participation rates for those 50 and over - women getting into the system earlier and into a routine of screening, before the majority of menopausal symptoms arise, before having to do bowel screening, etc......If women knew that 20% of BC's are found in women 40-49 and that this only increases by 3% 50-59 then perhaps they would book an appointment.
  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,733
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    @JJ70     OK .... so .... I gave BreastScreen NSW permission to review the ultrasound/biopsy results that identified my tumours and they also re-examined their own mammogram (that 'didn't' pick up my tumours which 4 months later were detectable by hand by my GP, so found 'accidentally', lucky for me!)  

    This is their review ..... TBH, I thought there would be more than 1&1/4 paragraph.



    I am so pleased that I don't have cancer!  I wonder what the fuck I've been going thru for the last 18 months, then??

    I notice that they didn't comment on the ultrasound that they also had access to (and I understood they were going to) - and this also just proves that Dense Breast Tissue disguises tumours and that mammograms are not good enough at identifying cancers until they are much bigger and more dangerous - verifying that women with dense breast tissue need to be advised of this - and advised to then have ultrasounds or scans for peace of mind!
  • JJ70
    JJ70 Member Posts: 983
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    WOW - that is really inferior. Just unacceptable really - not so much that it wasn't picked up by the BSNSW mammo (for we know that mammos are imperfect, especially with dense breast tissue) but the aftermath, their fobbing off of the situation and STILL no dense breast notification. The empathy level here is.....well...where is it? I'm looking for it...but shit it is not jumping out at me........ >:)
  • kmakm
    kmakm Member Posts: 7,974
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    That is a very odd letter indeed. They may as well have been talking about ants...