Celebration, visibility and inclusion: Welcome to Breastiville
A community event and party in Sydney’s inner west, part of the Mardi Gras Festival, will celebrate women and promote breast health.
While breast cancer awareness has grown amongst the general population in recent years, prevention and screening campaigns are woefully under serviced amongst LGBTIQ women. Yet breast cancer remains the most common form of cancer diagnosis amongst this group, with one in eight diagnosed in their lifetime.
These alarming statistics are just one reason ACON decided to embark on a campaign to raise awareness of the risk factors and preventative measures LGBTIQ women can take to be breast aware.
“We know that the major breast screening and prevention campaigns are not inclusive – LGBTIQ women are not visible in the campaigns,” says ACON Deputy CEO Karen Price. “From international and our own data, we understand that women from our communities have unique experiences and risk profiles when it comes to the main risk factors for breast cancer.”
Garnering support, advice and involvement from literally hundreds of women, ACON launched the Talk, Touch, Test campaign in May last year to increase the visibility of LGBTIQ women and their breast health.
Fast forward nine months and ACON have springboarded from the campaign to hold a festival event for women at this year’s Mardi Gras – Welcome to Breastiville.
Above: Bluehouse to perform at Welcome to Breastiville
“We wanted to bring a wide range of women together for Mardi Gras, and we wanted to profile breast health and screening. So with the generous sponsorship of the NSW Cancer Institute and the support of BreastScreen NSW we were able to build a day program to profile over 25 community groups, in a family-friendly environment that would allow women over 50 years of age to access free mammography services,” says Price.
Price tells SX the program features dancing, music, singing, creative works and dozens of ways women can get involved in contributing to the broader health and wellbeing goals ACON has for our communities.
“The night time program is about celebration, visibility and inclusion. We wanted to profile our Talk, Touch, Test campaign in a positive and uplifting environment – celebrate women and our abilities to look after each other and ourselves. The result is a bit of something for everyone, it’s huge and it is very, very exciting.”
Price is passionate about the possibilities Welcome to Breastiville brings in raising risk awareness.
Above: Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir to perform at Welcome to Breastiville
“Women from our communities experience a unique clustering of risk factors that influence our chances of being diagnosed with breast cancer.”
These include genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors, such as higher rates of smoking and risky drinking as well as barriers to testing and screening.
“In addition, we are less visible in and exposed to direct health promotion messages about breast health. That’s why ACON wants to raise awareness, speak directly to our communities in language that leverages our cultures of care to encourage good breast health habits across the lifespan.”
Welcome to Breastiville, February 25, 10am – late, Marrickville Town Hall, 303 Marrickville Road, Marrickville. Event is free but donations welcome. RSVP here