With Breast Cancer Awareness Month set to get under way today, BreastScreen NSW is encouraging women to get together with a friend to book a mammogram.
Figures from the Cancer Institute NSW show that in the Western NSW Local Health District [WNSWLHD] 221 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year alone.
WNSWLHD breastscreen manager Meg O'Brien said there are many reasons why women may put off a breast screening, such as nervousness around the process and fear of the results.
"By encouraging a friend to go with them, women can ensure that making the appointment becomes a priority," Ms O'Brien said.
"It also means that they will have someone to support them on the day, and as they get the results."
Chief Cancer Officer and CEO of the Cancer Institute NSW Professor David Currow explained that around 60 per cent of breast cancers are diagnosed in women aged 50-74, which is why screening is so important for women in this age group.
"Our research shows that a lot of women believe breast cancer will never happen to them, and we want women in the Central West to be aware that, if caught at the earliest stage, the cancer can be successfully treated in almost all cases."
"A regular mammogram every two years is the best way for women aged 50-74 to find breast cancer early.
"By detecting breast cancer early, breast screening not only saves lives but also reduces the likelihood of a woman needing invasive treatment, such as a mastectomy or chemotherapy.
"We have come a long way with cancer treatment but the reality is still that the more extensive the cancer is, the more it can diminish quality of life."
To book a free mammogram phone 13 20 50 and for more information, visit book.breastscreen.nsw.gov.au.