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Listen You Women, Your Breasts Are Precious


Dawn Ross, Family Wellbeing Coordinator, Faculty Health Business and Science at Batchelor Institute was one of a group of women who helped develop this DVD for the purpose of education around breast cancer awareness for remote Aboriginal women.

These women came from the Arrernte, Alyawarre and Anmatjerre language groups, sharing their experiences of breast cancer in a moving and powerful way, with the aim of raising awareness and encouraging other women to go forward for investigation and treatment, assuring them they are not alone.

The idea of producing a DVD came from two non-indigenous women working in the bush. Lesley Reilly and Liz Lock both had breast cancer and thought about women in remote areas, how many go undiagnosed and how it is too late to do anything for them. While working with Mrs Wallace, she told Lesley that we need to do something for our women because we lose too many of our family members, daughters, nieces and mothers through breast cancer because they are not aware of it and believe that you die when you are diagnosed with cancer. They were scared. This DVD lets people know that cancer doesn’t mean that you are going to die. If you get diagnosed early there is a chance for you to live to share your life with your children and grandchildren.

They have shown strength, determination and endurance and by demystifying the process, the following elements come through strongly from their story telling:

  • Taking ownership of their health and getting signs and symptoms investigated
  • Showing processes such as mammogram and ultrasound
  • The message that any woman indigenous or non-indigenous, can get breast cancer
  • The importance of pursuing medical treatment to deal with the cancer
  • The importance of continuing with treatment, even when you don’t feel like it
  • Motivation to deal with cancer to survive and continue to look after children and grandchildren
  • The importance of support from family, and of remote area nurses
  • Promoting strong messages of awareness for women to look after their breasts


I was invited to be part of the DVD because I was also a survivor. I am passionate about helping other Aboriginal women to look after their health and wellbeing by being aware of Breast Cancer. When I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, I didn’t check myself because I felt good, I had no symptoms, but by good luck I was asked if I wanted to have a mammogram done which was being offered free at Alukura by national Breast Screening. My message was, ‘even if you feel good and not feeling sick, check your breasts because you don’t have to be feeling sick or sore to have breast cancer’.Dawn Ross

This DVD has been indigenous inspired and indigenous driven, It has taken four years of meetings, planning and development, sourcing funds, and finally, in 2011 filming and production.

Please note that the DVD is not designed for an open viewership and is an educational tool which contains some sensitive material.

As directed by the elders involved with this production, its intended audience is all women, husbands of women diagnosed, and all health professionals and health workers. The translations are: Warlpiri, Pitjantjatjara, Arrernte and Anmatyerre

For more information or to order more copies of the DVD please go to or contact can be made to Lesley Reilly, on 08 89550678 or email to