Taking a Hands on Approach to Research
Breast Cancer Research Assistant Leigh Hodson is determined to play a role in the prevention of breast cancer not only by undertaking research in the area, but also completing a Graduate Diploma of Mammography.
Leigh works in the breast cancer team focussed on prevention at the Basil Hetzel Institute for Translational Health Research (BHI) while juggling her studies with Charles Sturt University. This gives her a unique insight into combining clinical practice with research and upon completion of her Diploma, she will be a qualified Mammography Technologist.
“In addition to my studies, I have been working on a project focused on the mammary gland after pregnancy, when it reverts back to the normal state,” Leigh explained.
“We’re only midway through collating results for this project so we’ll be able to provide an update on our findings later in the year.”
Leigh has also been involved in research into breast density in women, an area of focus at the BHI which is an exciting and emerging field of research with great potential to reduce breast cancer incidence across the globe.
“No one knows much about the biology of breast density but what we do know is if a woman has high breast density they have an increased risk of developing breast cancer,” Leigh said.
For Leigh, completing her research and study simultaneously helps her understand both her fields in a whole new light.
“I would love to combine the two areas. Being involved with patients has boosted my confidence and it has given me a different insight, I now am seeing it from a different perspective,” she said.
“I really enjoy having the opportunity to talk to women knowing that we are doing something for them by conducting this research at the BHI. We hope that our work has a real impact on breast cancer prevention in the future.”
Alarmingly, less than 60 per cent of women within the target screening age of 50-74 participate in breast screening in Australia, this is a statistic Leigh is eager to change through her future career as a Mammography Technologist.
“There is so much awareness about breast cancer but there are so many women not getting tested,” she said.
“There is a misconception that if you don’t have a family history of breast cancer then it is not a concern for you. This is something that needs to be changed.
“For now, a mammogram test is the best diagnostic test for both women who are at a screening age and who are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer.”
We wish Leigh all the best in her future as a Mammography Technologist and look forward to supporting her in her research career!
You can support research Leigh is working on! Click here to find out how!