Australian Story - Million to One (Breast Cancer)
Australian Story looks inside a health and workplace crisis that's been described as a first in Australia and possibly the world. Arguably it's a situation that could have happened anywhere. But it happened at the national broadcaster and it involves people more used to reporting the news than making the news.
The crisis became a major news story just before Christmas when the ABC announced the closure of its Queensland headquarters because of the confirmed high level of breast cancer among women employees, many of them only in their 30s and early 40s. The closure, thought to be on a scale that is unprecedented, followed a report by an independent scientific panel appointed by the ABC's new Managing Director, Mark Scott. The report found that the incidence of breast cancer among women working at the ABC in Brisbane was around six times higher than expected.
The chances of this being a statistical fluke were put at "one in a million''. Mr Scott says, "breast cancer clusters like this hadn't been found anywhere else in the world.'' He recalls that when he first heard the statistic he had to check that he was hearing correctly. But no on-site cause could be found at the time, although investigations are continuing. Australian Story has the personal stories of the women who say their long campaign against the site has been justified. And the program – comprising two episodes - looks at the medical and scientific mystery that remains and the possible implications for women everywhere.
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