One spot for women’s health

CONCERNED medicos have called on Latrobe Valley women to take advantage of the region’s one stop shop for health checks, following a drop in attendance from the beginning of the year.

The ‘top and tail’ service has been run out of the BreastScreen office at Latrobe Regional Hospital for the past four years and offers women aged above 40 a free pap test and mammogram in one consultation.

Annette Blythman is a regular user of the screening program for its “convenience”.

“It’s a central, very non-clinical type area,” Ms Blythman said.

“The checks are very quick. It’s over and done with and you’ve got two years off.”

Last year the service was booked out every month, but numbers have dropped since January.

BreastScreen Gippsland’s chief radiographer Marijke Wijgers encouraged women to be proactive about their health.

“Lots of women are busy. But you can’t look after anyone else if your health isn’t right,” Ms Wijgers said.

“Sometimes women are already in a pap program, but they’re not in a mammogram program.

“People might not have been faithfully attending every two years.”

The top and tail service aims to increase the rate of women booking regular screens.

BreastScreen figures show 61 per cent of Gippsland women between 50 and 69 have free mammograms.

Just 59.7 per cent of women in the region have regular pap tests.

PapScreen Victoria recommends all women between 18 and 70 who have ever been sexually active should have a pap test every two years, while BreastScreen Victoria encourages women aged 50 to 69 to screen every two years.

The top and tail clinic is run monthly and the next service will be held on Friday, 31 May.

Mammograms are also conducted on their own at the BrestScreen clinic.

To book phone 5173 7400.