If you remember the 70s disco track, ‘Shake your groove thing’, then you’re probably at the age where it’s time for you or a loved one to ‘Check your boobies, check your boobies, yeah, yeah!’
This was the message of the day this week at Broken Hill’s Royal Flying Doctor Service’s Pink Ribbon Breakfast for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which runs from October 1 through to October 31.
Broken Hill born and bred registered nurse and cancer survivor, Belinda Gentle, decided to rally the community to the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) for a very special morning tea on Wednesday (October 11), raising awareness (and perhaps a few eyebrows) with cheeky ‘Check your boobies, check your boobies, yeah, yeah’ t-shirts and a “boobie cake” all in the name of raising awareness and funds to help find a cure for breast cancer.
Diagnosed with stage two breast cancer following a mammogram last October, Ms Gentle says that early detection is key with regular mammograms providing the best chance of survival.
“I was writing a care plan for a patient when I asked when her last mammogram was. She couldn’t remember, and asked when my last one was, so I went along with the woman whose mammogram came back clear, but I got a recall,” Ms Gentle told us.
“Going back for the recall appointment was scary but I took a support person and the breast screen nurse from McGrath Foundation, Jo Bevan, was super supportive and the whole ordeal was over within a matter of five months, including radiation treatment five days a week for five weeks in Melbourne where I had family support,” shared Ms Gentle.
Women of all ages are encouraged to check their breasts for lumps.
“The ‘boobies’ bus” [mobile screening van] is nowhere near the far west for a while so we’re reminding local women – especially those over 50 – to check their boobies this month.
“Most people expect breast cancer to feel like a pea-sized growth but the tumour they removed from my breast was more like a four block Lego piece, which I ended up naming ‘Leonardo the loose lump of Lego in my left boob,” she laughed.
“I know cancer is a serious issue but all you can do is move forward so I like to have a laugh along the way to keep things light, and I’m sharing my story in the hope that other women have a mammogram this month.”
“There was a great turnout and we raised $508.55 at the morning tea, with RFDS staff who weren’t even on shift turning up to support the event,” said Ms Gentle.
Far West Local Health District say that 20-minute appointment every two years could save your life, so if you’re a female aged between 50 to 74, a breast screen is the best way to find breast cancer before you notice a change or feel a lump.
To book your free breast screen online, call 13 20 50 or visit https://book.breastscreen.nsw.gov.au/?fbclid=IwAR0a0rOU9thAiQ5oo0vPceZy278DWr96bygAHWVy80utnVmhUbfzADxSigk
To donate to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, visit https://nbcf.org.au/fundraise/breast-cancer-awareness-month/