FOLLOWING the easing of restrictions across the Far North, BreastScreen Queensland (BSQ) has decided to reopen its services in Cairns and send their mobile vans back out into communities.
The clinic and subsequent mobile breast screening services were suspended on April 1 due to COVID-19 and was reopened on Monday, June 1.
Earlier this year, BSQ unveiled their second mobile breast screening service the ‘Desert Rose’ or ‘Rosie’, Rosie was set to visit remote communities with her state-of-the-art equipment during 2020.
Rosie’s tour was cut short however with the dangers and implications of COVID-19, and BSQ is currently in talks with the relative authorities for Rosie’s travel to the cape communities with the travel ban still in place.
With Breast Cancer being the most commonly diagnosed cancer for Australian women, BSQ Cairns Service Chief Radiographer Deb Halliwell is stressing the importance of checkups.
“Early detection of breast cancer provides the best chance of effective treatment and increases the patient’s survival, treatment options and quality of life,” she said.
“The mobile bookings are going extremely well with Cairns team conducting 1370 phone calls since recommencing services on May 18.
“We know that women in rural and regional communities are more likely to use the service if it is easier to access and the mobile units do just that.”
BSQ Cairns Health Service Promotion Officer Sandra Peut said that the service is taking all possible steps to minimise and address risk from COVID-19 for staff and clients.
“We kindly ask our clients to bring their own pen to complete the paperwork and call to reschedule their appointment if they are feeling unwell with flu like symptoms,” she said.
“We also ask our clients to not arrive in advance for their appointment as we need to minimise the amount of people in the clinic waiting areas.
“For this reason, we also ask where possible that our clients do not bring anyone with them to their appointment.”
Regular breast screens are recommended for women aged 50 to 74 years to help with early detection and treatment of the cancer, women in their 40s and those aged over 75 are also eligible for the free service every two years.
“Our service and staff thank our local women for their support and patience during our temporary suspension, and we look forward to seeing you in the clinic soon,” Ms Peut said.
“We are contacting all women who had appointments cancelled during our temporary suspension to reschedule.”
The mobile breast screening services have had to adjust to a new schedule; the vehicles will now be in Innisfail from June 8 to August 25 and Tully from August 27 to September 24.
The BreastScreen Queensland Cairns Sevice is located at 116 McLeod Street phone 13 20 50 to book an appointment, for more information head to www.breastscreen.qld.gov.au