It’s the picture that could save your life, so it’s time you got yourself a “gram” profile – mammogram, that is. 

Breast screening is one of the most effective ways of detecting and preventing breast cancer and is recommended every two years for women, and eligible trans, and gender diverse people aged 50 to 74. 

It’s easy, quick, and free, yet, studies show that a comparatively low number of LGBTIQ+ people aged 50-74 have ever had a breast screen. 

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In view of this, BreastScreen Victoria and Thorne Harbour Health have launched a new campaign encouraging more eligible LGBTIQ+ and trans and gender diverse people to: “Screen with pride and get your picture of health.” 

Staff Have Received LGBTIQ+ Inclusive Training

There are many reasons why trans and gender diverse people might be reluctant to attend a clinic or mobile van for breast screening. They may fear judgment, hostility, lack of understanding or empathy, violation of their privacy. BreastScreen Victoria has worked with Thorne Harbour Health and members of the community to help address these issues and create  the Picture of Health campaign. 

The staff at BreastScreen Victoria have all received LGBTIQ+ inclusive practice training. Its Coordination Unit and Mobile Screening Service have received the Rainbow Tick, a health industry accreditation that asserts safety and inclusion for LGBTIQ+ people. There are dedicated “Rainbow Rose” screening sessions for LGBTIQ+ and trans/gender diverse people, to provide extra support if needed.

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The eligibility guidelines are clear and show an appreciation of factors unique to trans and gender diverse people. Even the word “breast” is explained as referring to tissue without any gender inference, and is only ever used in a medical context. 

Community Ambassadors Share Their Experiences

As part of their campaign to encourage eligible LGBTIQ+ people to have regular screenings, BreastScreen Victoria and Thorne Harbour Health have teamed up with four community ambassadors who share their positive experiences. 

Ricki (they/them/her) is 53 and overcame strong reservations about health services. 

“For people like myself who are transgender, from Stolen Generations and First Nations, accessing health services can be daunting. But the message I want to get out is that breast screening saves lives, and your life matters.”

Caroline, 61 (she/her) is proof that regular breast screening can actually save your life. 

“I’m a cancer survivor. I wouldn’t have known I had it unless I got breast screened regularly. As a member of the LGBT community, I’ve had a very positive experience with BreastScreen Victoria.”

Brenda (she/her) is 71 and has had a complete change of heart after initially being dubious about visiting a breast screening clinic.  

“Going into my first breast screen, I was a bit anxious about whether I would be respected for who I am. But as it turned out, the radiographer was great. My anxiety evaporated and I’ve had them regularly every two years since then.”

Deb (she/her) 55,  encourages everyone to check their eligibility and have a screening. 

 “I’ve had regular breast screens for a few years now. The staff were really lovely and it certainly felt safe and inclusive. Let’s improve health outcomes for our LGBTIQA+ community.”

Screenings Are Safe

Screenings are safe and are for people who don’t have any symptoms of breast cancer. If you do have symptoms you should consult a doctor immediately. You should also speak to your doctor if you have any concerns regarding breast screening with respect to your own personal circumstances. 

Breast cancer, when caught early, can be successfully treated, and mammograms are a very effective way to detect breast cancer. 

It’s safe, it’s friendly, it only takes 10 minutes and it’s free for eligible people. You don’t need a doctor’s referral or even a Medicare card. It could save your life. 

Are you getting the picture now? 

For information and bookings visit: breastscreen.org.au or call 13 20 50. 



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