A GROUP of Wimmera migrant women discovered the importance of breast awareness at an information session in Horsham on Wednesday.
Wimmera migrant settlement worker Robyn Murphy said it was the first time many of the women had discussed the topic.
About 20 women and 15 children attended the session at Horsham Primary School’s Rasmussen Road campus.
Hosted by Wimmera Development Association, it was aimed at newly-arrived Hindi, Thai, Kirundi, Karen, Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Japanese-speaking women.
“A lot of them were young mums, so they might have thought it was not relevant to them, but it is,” Ms Murphy said.
“It’s vital for all women to do self-checks from a young age.”
Ms Murphy said BreastScreen Victoria health promotion officer Marg Lannen explained the importance of breast screening and mammograms.
“Hopefully those women will take the message home to their mothers and grandmothers,” she said.
“Not all countries have government-funded prevention programs such as this one.”
Ms Murphy said she was disappointed to learn participation in Horsham’s breast screening program had fallen.
“For migrant women it’s all about information – they don’t necessarily know what is available to them,” she said.
Mrs Lannen said only 59 per cent of eligible women living in the Lowan electorate had had a breast screen in the past two years, which was considerably lower than the BreastScreen Australia target of 70 per cent.
She said regular breast screens were the best way to find breast cancer early, before symptoms were noticed and when treatment was likely to be most successful.
Mrs Lannen said people could call 13 20 50 or visit breastscreen.org.au for more information or to make an appointment.