Cheryl Hewett shares her breast cancer journey

AWARENSS: Breast cancer survivor Cheryl Hewett urges other regional women to book their two-yearly mammograms.
AWARENSS: Breast cancer survivor Cheryl Hewett urges other regional women to book their two-yearly mammograms.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed amongst South Australian women with more than 1400 new cases every year.

October marks National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and South Australian regional women are being urged to book in their two-yearly mammograms. 

She began having mammograms at 50 years of age and has continued them ever since.

“My mother passed away from cervical cancer at just 24 years of age so mammograms and pap smears have always been a huge part of my life.

“Last year in January, just before my 65th birthday I was booked in to have my regular mammogram. I’d had mammograms many times before so didn’t think much of it.

“I thought everything went well and then I got the phonecall that everyone dreads – they had found a spot on my left breast and I was needed in Adelaide for more extensive tests.”

The spot was confirmed as a tumour and Cheryl was told she would need to have lumpectomy, followed by a re-excision of the margin. This was followed by a regime of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

The BreastScreen SA mobile screening units provide free mammograms to local women aged between 50 and 74 years, allowing them to keep on top of their regular checks without having to head to Adelaide.

Now doing well, Cheryl is sharing her story with others to encourage them to take advantage of the free mammograms provided by BreastScreen SA. 

“I can’t reiterate just how important screening is,” Cheryl said.

“Catching cancer early is so important and having the bus come to you makes it so easy. We all need to take responsibility for our health, and there’s no reason to put it off.”

A recent report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare showed the risk of death for women Diagnosed through BreastScreen Australia was 42 per cent lower than those who had never been screened.

Nine out of 10 women who get breast cancer have no family history of the disease.

Cancer Council SA General Manager Services, Research and Public Policy Alana Sparrow said early detection through regular screening really does save lives.

“We are really pleased to see that the five year survival rate for breast cancer is the highest of all cancers.  This can be attributed to advances in early detection and treatment,” she explained.

“However, it’s important that we don’t get complacent. Catching breast cancer early gives women the best chance for effective treatment.”

To book an appointment or find out more about the BreastScreen SA mobile screening units and when they are coming to your area, call 13 20 50 or visitwww.breastscreensa.sa.gov.au.