Pharmacists are joining the battle to beat breast cancer under a pilot program on trial in Maribyrnong.

The Priceline pharmacy at Highpoint Shopping Centre is one of the first to undergo a training program helping staff to understand breast cancer risk and symptoms and raise conversations with customers about the importance of regular breast screening.

The BreastScreen Victoria campaign is part of a wider project aiming to boost screening rates, especially among women of Arabic and Italian backgrounds.

Pharmacy manager Rikinder Shergill said the role of pharmacists has evolved, putting them on the front line of primary health care.

“There’s more awareness that pharmacists have a lot of knowledge and not just about medications,” she said. “Sometimes you just want to have a general conversation rather than having a formal appointment. GP clinics are very structured and they only have a certain amount of time that’s allocated per patient.”

Ms Shergill said people may be more open to seeking advice in a pharmacy than in a clinic.

“There is also pre-screening – recognising symptoms or family history and letting people know they should consider a certain type of treatment, or speak to their GP about it.”

Ms Shergill said the Highpoint location is well suited to promoting breast screening because there is a clinic nearby.

Book 10-minute BreastScreen Victoria screenings at breastscreen.org.au or call 13 20 50.