SAVED: Former Southern Downs resident Janine Hills is urging all eligible women to get a free mammogram while the mobile breastscreen van is in Warwick next month, after a BreastScreen mammogram saved her life.
SAVED: Former Southern Downs resident Janine Hills is urging all eligible women to get a free mammogram while the mobile breastscreen van is in Warwick next month, after a BreastScreen mammogram saved her life. Contributed

'I was almost 65, I was contemplating if I needed to go'

FORMER Southern Downs resident Janine Hills is urging all eligible women to get a free mammogram while the mobile breastscreen van is in town next month, after a BreastScreen mammogram saved her life.

The mobile service will operate from Warwick Hospital from December 3-20.

"My younger sister, Noela, died from advanced metastatic breast cancer in 1987 at just 32 years of age, and before she passed she asked me to pledge to regular breast screening," Ms Hills said.

"I started to get regular mammograms and in the 1990s a lump was found, which - thankfully - was diagnosed as a benign adenoma.

"I continued to get regular mammograms at Toowoomba BreastScreen and the mobile BreastScreen van in Warwick, but by the time I was almost 65, I was contemplating whether I really needed to go.

"I decided to go to my next appointment anyway, and was glad that I did - my mammogram showed an abnormality, and further testing confirmed I had a DCIS, a form of non-invasive breast cancer."

Ms Hills had surgery, completed radiation treatment in early 2016 and continues to be a strong advocate of regular screening.

BreastScreen Queensland Toowoomba Service health promotion officer Alexandra Robbins-Hill said it was never too late for older women to book a mammogram.

"We actively target women from 50 to 74 years old to have two-yearly screens, as the majority of diagnosed cases fall between these age groups, but we also urge women between 40 and 49 and over 75 to come in for a free mammogram," Ms Robbins-Hill said.

"BreastScreen appointments only take around half an hour and they can save your life.

"A doctor's referral is not needed to access this service."

To schedule an appointment phone 13 20 50 or book online at https://www.breastscreen.qld.gov.au