Safe Breast Imaging Points
Jo Firth has made clear a number of points:
Safe Breast Imaging has not been forced to stop operating. We made a conscious decision to cease operations for now due to the ongoing harassment, scrutiny, investigations, media coverage, letters to the clinics we have operated from, etc.
It appears from media reports that all companies in Australia offering commercially available breast imaging options other than a mammogram are also under scrutiny, investigation, etc.
I and Safe Breast Imaging do not believe we have ever misled, misrepresented our services or deceived women regarding our breast health imaging services, as it is reported in the papers, claimed by cancer council in their correspondence to some of you, and in the notice issued by the ACCC. We are proud of the services we have offered.
I and Safe Breast Imaging have never claimed to be a replacement or equivalent to a mammogram. In fact, we try to differentiate ourselves from a mammogram as much as possible. We have also encouraged you to have a mammogram, on our website and in the report you receive.
I and Safe Breast Imaging have never claimed to offer a breast cancer screening technology. We offer a breast health imaging service to assist women to monitor their breast health status. From our perspective, the service we offer is your starting point to check your breast health.
Breasts are dynamic, hormonal and complex. No one technology and interpretation is 100% accurate in the information provided. For best results, use the tools available.
Jo Firth went on to explain that 'the ACCC has a role to protect consumers and ensure competition. The ACCC can act upon a complaint by a consumer, and also by a competitor, not for profit, association, etc. The ACCC looks at conduct that is misleading or deceptive OR likely to mislead or deceive. That means, even if there is not a consumer who has actually been misled or deceived, they will decide for YOU if you may possibly be misled or deceived."
'It is my belief that the women who make an informed decision to pay a fee and have breast health imaging with Safe Breast Imaging are intelligent and empowered to weigh up their options. How do you feel? What do you think? explained Jo."
'It is not our intention now, and has never been, to discourage you from using the options available to monitor your breasts. This may include having a mammogram. We encourage you to do all you can to maintain your breast health and reduce your risk. We believe Safe Breast Imaging offers a very different service to screening for cancer that is already there", Jo continued.
'I personally believe that most women do not want breast cancer. I have witnessed over the years that many women will proactively take steps to reduce their risk, which may start with checking the status of their breast health. From statements by the cancer council, they seem to be discouraging this," Jo explained.
Jo Firth acknowledged 'some effectiveness of the breast cancer screening program, and also acknowledge the gap for women who choose not to use it, who are ineligible or who have been let down by the program."
'Because it is well documented internationally and well known that breast cancer screening using mammography does have limitations, which is also acknowledged by the cancer council, I believe there is an ethical and moral obligation to address the needs of women who may not benefit from the national breast cancer screening program but whose health needs are no less important," continued Jo.
'I am unaware of any legislation that states that a private company cannot offer breast health services to consumers, even if this may be perceived by some to be an alternative to mammography. (Dictionary definition of alternative: a thing that you can choose to do or have out of two or more possibilities)," Jo explained.
'I once again reiterate that I advocate we take control of our own health, and work on strategies to improve it. I feel this is a very different approach to screening for cancer that is already there. I conclude this from my years of listening to women, and their medical and breast history they have shared," Jo concluded.
Here are some facts again regarding breast screening:
The government breast cancer screening program (BreastScreen) commenced approximately 20 years ago.
Participation of the target group (women 50-69 years) has never exceeded 57%. Currently participation in the 2-yearly program is approximately 55%.
Approximately 27% of cancer diagnoses are in women under 50 years who are not invited for breast cancer screening.
Women under 50 are not targeted, due to the limitations of the technology for this group.
Women 40-49 years may request a screening appointment but women under 40 years of age are excluded from the program.
Only women who have no symptoms at the time may have a screening mammogram.
2006 statistics show that approximately 70% of diagnoses are found outside the BreastScreen program.
According to BreastScreen, 17% (1 in 6) women diagnosed through the program have 'interval cancer", where a tumour was not detected on their previous mammogram.
According to the Department of Health & Ageing, less than 1% of women screened are found to have breast cancer.
Mammography is less effective for:
Dense breast tissue – about 30% of postmenopausal women
Dense breast tissue - Most premenopausal women (i.e. under 50)
Women on Hormone Replacement Therapy ( thickens the tissue)
Women with implants
Women with previous surgery
Very small breasted women
Very big breasted women
Pregnant or breastfeeding women are excluded
What you can do:
Tell your story to:
Minister for Health & Ageing
Shadow Minister for Heath and Ageing
Your local Federal Member
Your local State Member
Your local Opposition State Member
Chairman, Cancer Council of Australia
Chairman of ACCC
Or, Leave a message on the Safe Breast Imaging Facebook page: www.f acebook.com/pages/Safe-Breast-Imaging/127664540593869