Daughters urged to help mothers get checked

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Participation rates for breast screenings are some of the worst among ethnically diverse women, which is why the Breast Cancer Network of Australia (BCNA) is pushing for daughters to encourage their mothers to get tested. The BCNA will be hosting a special information day for Greek women at the new Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture in Melbourne, to better educate Greek women about the benefits of early screening and dispel any fears they might have on the topic. To be held on Sunday 30 November, the four-hour information session will include talks by Greek Australian professionals, including renowned professor of breast oncology John Boyages and St Vincent’s Hospital social worker Voula Kallianis.The talk is the first initiative created after the BCNA uncovered critical research showing women with breast cancer from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are faced with more challenges on their breast cancer journey than English speaking patients. The report found that “Italian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Greek and Arabic speaking communities have both relatively high reported levels of low English proficiency and a relatively high incidence of breast cancer”.It’s something Professor John Boyages has seen first hand, treating many women in those communities, especially in Greek women.He has witnessed Greek women avoid getting tested because of the fears and stigma they carry towards breast cancer and cancer in general. “It’s a very personal part of their body, it is fear that the mammography might hurt them, there is fear if there is something there they might make it worse, we do not want to remove something that might kill them, these are the sorts of things I heard through the years,” he told Eugenia Pavlopoulou of the Greek edition of Neos Kosmos. “In general there is fear that something might be there, so they avoid screening.”Yet, while he has dealt with these excuses for years, Professor Boyages has noticed a positive trend. He is seeing fewer women coming in for screening where the disease has advanced. Women are heeding the call to get checked.Having the information translated into their mother tongue is imperative in reducing the number of women coming in with advanced cancer, Professor Boyages says. “All the current science shows that conservation is just as effective as mastectomy,” he says.That’s why the BCNA is encouraging mothers to attend the information session with their daughters to open the discussion and push each other to keep up to date with their screenings. “The modern young Greek girl is connected, more in-tune in being proactive,” Professor Boyages says. “The role of the younger woman is to inform them and if the older woman has a lump they have to persuade them to see a doctor straight away.”As a doting son and a physician, Professor Boyages has made sure he’s there to help his mother and remind her of keeping up to date with her tests. “My mother is in her early eighties, and I still encourage her to have a mammogram,” he says. The network expects around 100 women to attend the information session with their partners, friends and supporters. The event will provide an opportunity to meet and share stories with other Greek-speaking women. Those wanting to attend must register and can call the Australian Greek Welfare Society on (03) 9388 9998. The event is free and will include refreshments and lunch.The Breast Cancer Information Day for Greek-speaking Women will be held on Sunday 30 November 2014 for 12.00 pm-4.30 pm at the Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture, 168 Lonsdale St, Melbourne, VIC.Visit www.bcna.org.au for more informationlast_img read more