A breast cancer awareness short film that educates women in Timor-Leste on how to do a self breast check and the benefits of early detection has launched this week in Dili. The film was produced with support from RACS and the Foundation for Surgery.

We Need to Talk About Breasts was produced with funding support from Perth-based, Annie Millicent ChildCare Foundation under the Improving Breast Cancer Outcomes in Timor-Leste project. 

The project brings together the Ministry of Health and its key health partners to improve breast cancer awareness and control in Timor-Leste - including the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS), Cuban Medical Brigade, the Alola Foundation, Marie Stopes International, the World Health Organisation and Australian breast cancer support organisations.

In Timor-Leste, early detection of breast cancer is a critical priority.  With the vast majority of women across the country presenting with very advanced, late stage breast cancer, if at all – well beyond the potential for curative treatment.

 “With over 80 per cent mortality rates in breast cancer cases, compared to 10 per cent in developed countries, public awareness and early detection, improved diagnosis and treatment, and palliative care, are urgent and critical health priorities for Timor-Leste,” said Dr Alito Soares, Chair of the Timor-Leste National Breast Cancer Committee.

Dr Karen Edyvane, a member of the Timor-Leste National Breast Cancer Committee and producer of the film said, “This short-film will provide a vital educational resource and public education campaign on improving breast cancer early detection”.

“With these national and international partnerships and commitment, we hope to significantly and dramatically improve breast cancer outcomes, and the health and well-being of women in Timor-Leste.”