October, Australia’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, provides an opportunity for us all to focus on breast cancer and its impact on those affected by the disease in our community.
What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer is the abnormal growth of the cells lining the breast lobules or ducts. These cells grow uncontrollably and have the potential to spread to other parts of the body.
Both men and women can develop breast cancer, although it is uncommon in men.
It’s the most common cancer in women
Breast cancer remains the most common cancer among Australian women (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer).
Survival rates continue to improve in Australia with 89 out of every 100 women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer now surviving five or more years beyond diagnosis.
Finding breast cancer early provides the best chance of surviving the disease. You don’t need to be an expert or use a special technique to check your breasts.
What to look for
Changes to look for include:
- A new lump or lumpiness, especially if it’s only in one breast
- A change in the size or shape of your breast
- A change to the nipple, such as crusting, ulcer, redness or inversion
- A nipple discharge that occurs without squeezing
- A change in the skin of your breast such as redness or dimpling
- An unusual pain that doesn’t go away.
Most changes aren’t due to breast cancer but it’s important to see your doctor without delay if you notice any of these changes.
View the short video below about the breast changes you need to look out for.
Breast cancer risk factors
It’s important to separate the fact from the fiction about risk factors for breast cancer. With an understanding of the things that may increase your chance of developing breast cancer, you can take positive steps to reduce your risk.
Find out more about your risk for breast cancer using this evidence-based breast cancer risk calculator.
Pink Ribbon Day
October is the official month for Cancer Council’s Pink Ribbon Day, though you can get involved at any time throughout the year.
You can help those affected by breast cancer by making a donation, hosting a Pink Ribbon event or even buying Pink Ribbon merchandise.
For more information or to show your support, visit Pink Ribbon.
Questions? Concerns? Ask us!
Our team of friendly GPs are here to help with any questions or concerns you may have about breast cancer.
We understand if your preference is to see a female doctor. We’d be pleased to help you in any way we can.
Please make a booking online or call us on 9304 0500 today.
Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.