Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Grappling with breasts

I would really prefer to blog from a foreign land. In that way I can usually avoid micro issue and concentrate on the grand scheme of thing. But since I have been back in Australia there has been pressure to shoot out media releases on some very specific issues.

The latest comes out of some very real concerns of some local friends, and I guess does really have a universal lure. Health care is an issue everywhere. It has economic implications, especially if issues are allowed to become serious and require hospital care.

So we are talking breasts here and I know it is just one of the health issues which could be dealt with early, given the access to free screening. I have been asked to frame an Australian media release on this. Frankly, what I have read on this encouraged me to post the release here:

Breasts might be sexy, but breast cancer can hardly raise a ripple. That seems to be the case with my local independent member for Port Macquarie, Rob Oakeshott.

I have raised this issue before and since the recent state election and still cannot get any acknowledgement that this issue exists.

Detection of breast cancer provides the best chance of effective treatment for women with the disease.

Benefits of early detection include increased survival, increased treatment options and improved quality of life.

These are well recorded facts, and the evidence is available on the National Breast cancer Centre (NBCC) site.

For women, age remains the biggest risk factor in the development of breast cancer with over 70% of cases found in women aged 50 years and older. NBCC claims that women from Around 40 should have regular free access to screening.

My concern, indeed the concern of many younger women I talk to, is that women younger than 50 have limited access to free screening.

In fact even with a doctors referral woman younger than 45 are required to pay for screening regardless of the risk.

Women of different ages who are at population risk and for women of all ages who are at increased risk of developing breast cancer should have access to free screening.

NBCC say that in younger women, tumours are likely to be larger and more aggressive and overall survival is lower than for older women with the disease.

This is not simply a heath issue but an economic imperative. Limiting screening to a narrow age group has potentially disastrous outcomes in both areas.

On a personal level many women are simply not able to access early detection. The knowledge of the potential and the cost restraints for screening must add to the risk through associated stress.

On the economic side the state, or the country for that matter, would be well in front treating early onset rather than needing to fund intensive oncology units.

I am preparing this for my big brother, with whom I currently live. It is an odd issue for me, but I have actually seen the value of the push.
We are not ready to launch it yet, and any relevant comments would be very welcome.


Praguetwin said...

My wife's mother died in her 40s from breast cancer.

My wife gets free screening every year even though she is only 32.

Socialized medicine does have its benefits.

Cartledge said...

"Socialized medicine does have its benefits" for the economy as well PT

Praguetwin said...

Not to mention free higher education for those who test well.

And the Czechs do nothing but complain. Oh, well, they will get "true" capitalism soon enough.