Breast cancer

22 January 2009

Get a mammogram while shopping

An Australian department store is giving busy women the chance to turn retail therapy into a real health boost by offering free in-house mammograms.

An Australian department store is giving busy women the chance to turn retail therapy into a real health boost by offering free in-house mammograms.

Retail giant Myer has teamed up with the New South Wales Breast Cancer Institute (BCI) to set up breast clinics in the lingerie department, hoping to make what can be a nerve-racking experience more comfortable and accessible to more women.

About 35 women are diagnosed with breast cancer daily in Australia, a country where the disease affects more than 13 000 females a year. BCI's Sunflower Clinics hope to offer women the chance to combine a screening with a bit of shopping or while meeting friends, and the mammograms are transmitted within seconds to the BCI centre and read by doctors.

"One of the unique parts of this is its totally digital. By the time the woman gets to the escalator in the store, the scan is back at the hospital to be read by two doctors," John Boyages, BCI's executive director, said. At least 200 female shoppers are expected to be screened weekly using the latest digital technology, and Boyages said he expected to find at least one cancer case among these women.

Most shoppers, staff are women
"It's not just about having a mammogram in a retail unit. It's connecting all the bits together that no one has been able to achieve before," he added.

Myer spokesman Mitch Catlin said two-third of the store's customers are women, as well as 8% of their staff, making the issue very relevant for shoppers. "This sort of facility is a world-first it's something that hasn't been done before, he said.

According to medical statistics, 75% of breast cancers develop in women aged over 50 years. – (Reuters Health, January 2009)

Read more:
New 3D test for breast cancer


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Breast cancer expert

Dr Gudgeon qualified in Birmingham, England, in 1968. She has more than 40 years experience in oncology, and in 1994 she founded her practice, Cape Breast Care, where she treats benign and malignant breast cancers. Dr Boeddinghaus obtained her qualification at UCT Medical School in 1994 and her MRCP in London in 1998. She has worked extensively in the field of oncology and has a special interest in the hormonal management of breast cancer. She now works with Dr Gudgeon at Cape Breast Care. Read more.

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