I love the fact that having ‘blog’ gives me the chance to reach out and bring awareness to our health. It is human nature that we become complacent with what is happening in everyday life and we tend overlook ‘bigger picture’ stuff that could in fact bring everything we have worked so hard for down in an instant. Breast cancer, is one of these.
Highly regarded journalist and media personality Tracey Spicer has embarked on a new project ahead of Breast Cancer Awareness month (October) to help combat the surprising level of complacency that still exists among Australian women when it comes to the detection fundamentals (self-checks, regular screening and diagnostic mammography exams – particularly in women already at heightened risk.
In the documentary, called Let’s Talk About Breasts, Tracey showcases her own personal account of her family’s cancer connection and undergoes a specific 3D mammography exam on the advice of her doctor, given her personal risk profile puts her at heightened risk. The lives and tales of six other courageous women are also followed, from strong-willed survivor stories to raw confessions about the time lag between mammograms – it’s real and it’s raw and it is likely to get women talking.
Here, exclusively for the Ironmum Karla community, Tracey Spicer talks about breasts and bares all, as she opens up about her experience filming the documentary, with the aim of encouraging Australian women to become aware of the risk and be vigilant.
Over to you Tracey…
Complacency is killing us.
That’s the message from a new survey about breast cancer.
Despite decades of campaigns – and most Australian women knowing someone with the disease – a mere 23 per cent take “adequate self-detection steps”. Worse still, among high-risk* women, only a-third do self-examinations monthly, while a-fifth rarely or never do.
This is why I decided to do a ‘bare all’ documentary about the most common cancer affecting Australian women.
If detected early, there’s a five-year survival rate of 96 per cent.
And if not? Well, it remains the second biggest cancer killer of women.
During a week of filming, I met many extraordinary women living with cancer. (Just don’t call it a journey! Understandably, they resent that description.) Their message is clear: Find out your family history; check your breasts; and get tested. www.breastdetection.com
At a lively dinner party, during which one of my friends said she’d, “Chop her tits off” if she had the BRCA1 gene, I learned why women are reticent to have mammograms.
The reasons ranged from “too busy with the kids” to “scared of a diagnosis” and “don’t want my boobs to be pancaked”.
For me, it was the trifecta. Despite being high risk – cancer in the family, dense breasts, a ‘false positive’ in my 30s – I didn’t have a mammogram for more than seven years.
Well, after being filmed undergoing a Genius 3D mammogram, which detects more invasive cancers than the traditional 2D models, I can confidently say three things:
*Our health should come first. What will happen to the kids if something happens to us?
*An early diagnosis means we can be proactive. This is, quite literally, lifesaving.
*Yes, it’s squishy. But it doesn’t hurt a bit. I’d describe it as brief discomfort.
Sure, it was confronting whipping off my top in front of a camera crew I’d met minutes earlier: But not as confronting as finding out you have breast cancer, too late.
It’s clear that the time for complacency is over.
You are at high risk if you:
*Notice any breast changes or lumps
*Have a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer
*Were previously diagnosed with breast disease
*Have dense breasts (eg. women in their 40s)
*Require further assessment after an inconclusive 2D mammogram
Watch Tracey’s documentary and, for every view and share, $1 will be donated to Krystal Barter’s charity, Pink Hope www.pinkhope.org.au/bright-pink-lipstick-day #letstalkaboutbreasts
Talk to your doctor about Genius 3D Mammography. Information about breast cancer detection methods is available at www.breastdetection.com