Sistas, get checked! Community event at Winda-Mara supports Aboriginal women to put their health first

Friday 4 October, 2019

Cancer Council Victoria and BreastScreen Victoria have joined forces to host a unique health event for Aboriginal women in the Heywood area from 7-10 October.

The event highlights the importance of cancer screening for women, with information about culturally safe and accessible options for the Aboriginal community.

Cancer Council Victoria worked with Aboriginal artist Madison Connors to create artwork depicting the cervical screening experience, which will be on show at the event.

Aboriginal Liaison Officer at Cancer Council Victoria, Andrea Casey, said the artwork will encourage Aboriginal women aged 25-74 to have cervical screening.

“Cervical cancer is a problem in our mob. Indigenous Australians are nearly four times more likely to die from cervical cancer than non-Indigenous Australians.” said Mrs Casey.

“We hope that this initiative helps get women screened so that we can close that gap. We know that if cervical cancer is detected early through screening, successful treatment is more likely.”

BreastScreen Victoria’s hot pink van, known as “Nina” will also be at the event, to give free breast screens to women aged 50 and over. The first 50 women will receive a free cultural screening shawl to wear during the mammogram, and to take home with them.

These shawls have been developed to make breast screening more comfortable for Aboriginal women across Victoria, with Heywood’s shawl featuring a design by local Yigar-Gunditjmara artist, Jenna Bamblett.

BreastScreen Victoria CEO, Vicki Pridmore, said that the shawl initiative was a culmination of months of hard work and planning with project partner, the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO).

“We hope that the beautiful shawls created by Aboriginal artists for this project can assist women screening to feel comfortable, welcome and respected,” Ms Pridmore said.

“When found early, breast cancer can be treated very successfully. This visit has been organised with our partners at VACCHO and Winda-Mara to make sure that Aboriginal women in Heywood have access to a potentially life-saving breast screen,” said Ms Pridmore.

The women’s health event will be at Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation, 21 Scott Street, Heywood from Tuesday 8 October until Thursday 10 October 2019. There is a community dinner launch event on Monday 7 October at 5.30pm.

Breast screening appointments at all locations can be made online at breastscreen.org.au or by calling 13 20 50.

For more information about cervical screening visit cancervic.org.au/cervical-aboriginal or call 13 11 20 to speak to Cancer Council Victoria.