New Mammogram Machines for the Indian Ocean Territories

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Number: A62/2017

Date: 7 November 2017

I am very pleased to report that the new mammogram machine for Christmas Island arrived on island on last Friday's freighter. The new mammogram machine for the Cocos (Keeling) Islands is expected to be delivered by 17 November 2017.

These new digital mammogram machines will provide residents of both Indian Ocean Territories local access to the most up to date machines for a screening mammogram, consistent with women on the mainland.

Thanks goes to the former Minister for Local Government and Territories, the Hon Fiona Nash and the former Administrator of the Indian Ocean Territories, Barry Haase, for their personal support to securing state-of-the-art mammogram machines for the Indian Ocean Territories.

The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, the Indian Ocean Territories Administration and the Indian Ocean Territories Health Service in partnership with BreastScreen WA should also be commended for their concerted efforts to procure this important medical equipment.

If you are a woman aged 40 or over, you can access the free screening mammography service on Christmas Island using the new mammogram machine from 27 November to 8 December 2017 at the Indian Ocean Territories Health Service. Breast screenings on Cocos are scheduled during the week commencing 3 February 2018 after the holiday season. Eligible women from Cocos who are in Perth in December/January are advised to visit a BreastScreen clinic in Perth for their free breast screen.

In the future, breast screens will be held every two years on Christmas and Cocos. Eligible women from Christmas Island, who have been screened in the last year, will have an additional screening this year to get them on the two-year breast screening cycle.

To make an appointment for a free screening mammogram on Christmas Island during 27 November to 8 December 2017, please call the Indian Ocean Territories Health Service on (08) 9164 8333 or call 13 20 50 (thirteen—twenty—fifty). Appointments will be taken in the New Year for screening on Cocos.

Breast cancer is the most common life-threatening cancer for women and one in eight women in Australia will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, according to BreastScreen WA. Having a screening mammogram (breast x-ray) every two years significantly increases the chance of a woman surviving breast cancer and reduces the amount of treatment required.

BreastScreen WA 's Medical Director Dr. Elizabeth Wylie, said screening mammography was the most effective method for early detection of breast cancer. "A free screening mammogram is one of the best things that women can do to look after their health. Breast screening saves lives and only takes 20 minutes," said Dr. Wylie. Any woman with a persistent change in a breast should see her doctor immediately.

Natasha Griggs
Territories of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands