In the middle of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Fiona Shields, Leeton's McGrath Foundation nurse urges people to take back control of their breast health after COVID-19 impact.
Performing regular self checks and staying on top of breast health is what the McGrath Foundation hopes to reinforce this October during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released a report in October that found that the impact of COVID-19 resulted in 145,000 fewer screening mammograms performed in January to June 2020 compared to the same period in 2018.
"With COVID-19 a lot of people haven't been going to have their health checks and breast health is one of those things that we need to be aware of," Mrs Shields said.
Performing self checks is a quick process people can do at home in front of the mirror she explained and should be performed regularly to understand what is normal for your breast shape and skin texture.
"The main things are to look, feel and learn, three simple things," Mrs Shields said.
"Check your breast by starting from the collar bone and always do under your arm as well, not just the breast itself."
Mrs Shields gets involved with a patient and their family immediately from a breast cancer diagnoses. She provides support, education and guidance regarding the particular breast cancer diagnoses and guides the patient through the treatment process.
"People do not need to wait for a doctor to send me a referral, they can get in touch with me through the McGrath Foundation or contact Griffith Community Health Centre directly."
The McGrath Foundation funds breast care nurses all around Australia for free. Mrs Shields, who is based in Griffith covers an area from Hillston, Hay, Leeton, Lake Cargelligo and all the places in between a catchment area of about 80,000 people.
"Anyone can access us, any one can get in touch with me. It's as simple as going on the McGrath Foundation website and searching for your closest nurse."
Donating to any of Leeton's businesses involved in fundraising this month will see your money going towards keeping nurses like Mrs Shields in regional communities throughout Australia.
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