The Wesley Hospital Breast Clinic is urging Brisbane women to take charge of their health.

“I don’t have time for an appointment right now. I’ll get around to it when I’m not so busy.”

Who hasn’t thought that at one time or another, when a reminder arrives in the mail that you’re due for your annual visit to the GP?

But regular mammogram screening isn’t something women should put on the backburner, with breast cancer still the most common cancer to affect women in Australia.

It’s something that Wendy Skelcey, 60, of Chapel Hill in Brisbane, is very aware of. During National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, she had her 20th mammogram at The Wesley Hospital Breast Clinic.

“When I turned 40 my GP recommended mammogram screening and so I came to the Wesley,” she says. “Being proactive about our health, particularly as we get older, is important.”

As well as attending the Wesley Breast Clinic for screening, Wendy is also one of the clinic’s 52 volunteers. She handles a variety of tasks, including escorting women to and from the various areas of the clinic for their appointments.

“I can relate to women who may be feeling anxious or a little nervous before a mammogram or ultrasound, and afterwards as they wait for results, because I have been coming here myself as a patient for these past two decades and I have had to have a few breast cysts investigated over the years,” she says. “As a volunteer I’m there to chat, if someone would like to chat, to provide a welcome distraction, make a cup of tea, or just sit with them and be a friendly face.

“It’s a very active volunteering role here and very rewarding. It also makes you aware of the importance of regular health checks, not only for breast health, but skin checks and bowel screening and things like that.”

The Wesley Breast Clinic is a world-renowned multidisciplinary facility established 32 years ago to promote the early diagnosis of breast cancer and provide screening and diagnostic services for a wide spectrum of breast disorders.

More than 23,000 patients come to the Clinic each year for access to digital mammography, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and ultrasound imaging, a screening clinic for asymptomatic patients, diagnostic services for symptomatic patients, and a family history clinic for people who carry breast cancer genes or have a strong family history of breast cancer.

Women aged 40 or over who are not experiencing symptoms don’t need a referral for a mammogram screening appointment. Phone 07 3232 7202 or visit www.wesley.com.au

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