A PACKED room at the Imperial Hotel in Erskineville heard of a groundbreaking campaign to change the health outcomes for lesbian, bisexual and queer (LBQ) women.
#TalkTouchTest was launched last night by ACON to get more older LBQ women (ages 50-74) screening for breast cancer and younger women increase their self-testing.
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women, with one in eight women diagnosed by their 85th birthday. This means 42 Australian women find out they have breast cancer every day. Seven women die from breast cancer each day.
LGBTI people have lower screening rates for cancer, but LBQ women are at higher risks of breast cancer than other populations. Some of the reasons could be higher rates of smoking and high-risk drinking.
Karen Price, director ACON HIV and Sexual Health, told the audience that LBQ often feel disengaged with health care services, resulting in lower screening rates.
“We are underachieving, and under screening… we need good relationships with our health networks,” she said.
Aunty Millie Ingram delivered the welcome to country before the festivities kicked off and shared her cancer survival story, including how tough it was to tell her family.
“I’m not here to scare you… but you must get checked out. We’ve got great doctors here in Sydney,” she said.
Writer, comedian and TV Presenter Gretel Killeen hosted a panel discussion with prominent Australian women who had experiences with breast cancer at some level including Beccy Cole, Jean Kittson, Dr Kerryn Phelps, Dykes on Bikes President Manda Hatter and ex-Australian cricketer Julia Price.
Women in the community are encouraged to find their ‘normal’ so they can recognise when something changes or they find a lump. But most importantly, they are encouraged to talk with their friends, lovers, partners and family about the issue.
“At the heart of #TalkTouchTest is community. Whether it is community sporting, arts-based or social groups, women in relationships, or ‘breast-friends’, we want women to encourage each other to talk, touch and test for better breast health,” ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said.