All Posts Tagged: breast cancer

Holding hands - cancer

Cancer – the basics

Cancer is abnormal cell growth.

The cancer cells can invade and destroy surrounding healthy tissue, including organs. Most areas of the body can be affected.

Cancer is the most common cause of death in Victoria.

What’s the difference between benign and malignant cancer?

You often hear people talking about cancer that is benign or malignant.

Benign cells grow abnormally but do not spread. These cells are not dangerous.

If the cells spread or are capable of spreading to other parts of the body, they are called malignant cancer. These are the dangerous ones.

What are the most common cancers?

There are hundreds of different types of cancer, each with its own methods of diagnosis and treatment. But the top 10 cancers in Australia are:

What are the symptoms of cancer?

Changes to your body’s normal processes or symptoms usually don’t mean you have cancer. But it’s important you see your Pascoe Vale doctor so they can assess and investigate.

Potential signs and symptoms of cancer include:

  • A lump in the neck, armpit or anywhere else in the body
  • Lumpiness or a thickened area in your breasts, any changes in the shape or colour of your breasts, unusual nipple discharge, a nipple that turns inwards (if it hasn’t always been that way) or any unusual pain
  • Sores or ulcers that don’t heal
  • Coughs or hoarseness that won’t go away or coughing up blood
  • Changes in toilet habits that last more than two weeks, blood in a bowel motion or urine
  • New moles or skin spots, or ones that have changed shape, size or colour, or that bleed
  • Unusual vaginal discharge or bleeding
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Diarrhoea or constipation for no obvious reason
  • A feeling of not having fully emptied your bowels after going to the toilet
  • Pain in your abdomen (tummy) or your anus
  • Persistent bloating.

What causes cancer?

Often we don’t know why cancer happens. But there are some things that significantly increase your risk, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, a poor diet, not getting enough exercise and too much radiation from the sun.

Sometimes cancer runs in families. You can inherit genes that make you more likely to get it.

In other cases, cancer is associated with an infection. For example, cervical cancer is associated with some types of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.

Being exposed to some chemicals and dust can also increase your risk.

How can you prevent cancer?

There are a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make to help reduce your risk. For example, you can improve your diet, do more physical activity, and avoid staying in the sun all day.

Our team of healthcare practitioners can assist you with making these changes.

Government-sponsored programs (e.g. screening tests for bowel, cervical and breast cancer) and other screening tests, as recommended by your doctor, are also available.

Prevention is better than cure!

When should I see my doctor?

There is a much greater chance of successfully treating cancer if it’s detected early. If you notice any changes, contact us immediately.

 

Source: Cancer Australia, BetterHealth, Healthdirect

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.

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breast cancer Melbourne

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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?

It’s 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 this 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

As a woman, over the course of your lifetime there are many factors that can influence your risk of breast cancer.

While some of the most important of these risk factors, such as being a woman, getting older or having a strong family history cannot be changed, you can still aim to reduce risk of breast cancer through making healthy lifestyle choices and other risk-reducing strategies.

Factors that can be changed are called modifiable factors. They include:

  • Alcohol – drinking alcohol increases your risk for breast cancer. The more you drink, the greater the increase in risk.
  • Body weight – keeping to a healthy weight range reduces risk of breast cancer.
  • Physical activity – active women of all ages are at reduced risk of breast cancer compared to women who do not exercise.
  • Menopausal hormone therapy (MHT)/hormone replacement therapy (HRT) – using MHT that contains both an oestrogen and a progestogen is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, with the risk increasing the longer you take it.
  • Breastfeeding – breastfeeding can reduce risk of breast cancer, and the longer the duration of breastfeeding, the greater the benefits.

We can help you manage these modifiable factors. You can also learn more about breast cancer risk factors here.

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. Visit Pink Ribbon for more information.

Questions? Concerns? Ask us!

Our team of friendly GPs are here to help with any questions or concerns you may have about women’s health and 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.

 

Source: Australian Government Cancer Australia and Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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.

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If you find a suspicious breast change, make a booking to see a doctor at PVH Medical Pascoe Vale.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

This October is an opportunity for Australians to focus on breast cancer and its impact on those affected.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Australian women. According to the Department of Human Services, over 17,000 women are likely to be diagnosed with this cancer in 2017.

Detecting breast cancer

Early detection of breast cancer can saves lives.

Detecting any abnormalities early on ensures that women have all treatment options available to them. The earlier breast cancer is found, the better the chance of surviving it.

In Australia, free routine mammographic screening is available through BreastScreen Australia services in each state for women aged 50 to 74.

Women aged 40 to 49 can also have mammography, but breast screening is less effective because the density (thickness) of breast tissue makes it more difficult to see a cancer in the x-ray and fewer women are diagnosed in this age group.

This free service is not offered to women under the age of 40. This is because research suggests that younger women do not benefit from routine mammographic screening because they have denser breast tissue than older women. It is also not offered to men due to their lack of breast tissue.

All women are encouraged to be ‘breast aware’ – that is, familiar with the normal look and feel of their breasts.

If you find a suspicious breast change, make a booking with us immediately. Our friendly team of GPs can refer you to imaging tests to confirm the presence of the change.

If the imaging results appear suspicious, you will be referred for a biopsy for confirmation and diagnosis.

Breast cancer in Australia: the facts

  • One in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.
  • On average, eight women die from breast cancer every day.
  • There are more than 65,000 people currently living with breast cancer in Australia.
  • This year, 17,586 women (an average of 48 every day) are projected to be diagnosed with breast cancer, although mortality is predicted to continuously decline.
  • Women diagnosed with breast cancer have a 90% chance of surviving five years after diagnosis.
  • Increasing age is one of the strongest risk factors for developing breast cancer.
  • More than two in three cases of breast cancer occur in women aged between 40 and 69 years.
  • Breast cancer spreading to other organs (metastasis) is the main cause of death from breast cancer. The survival rate of women that have metastatic breast cancer at first diagnosis is alarmingly low, with only one in four women still alive five years after diagnosis.
  • Improvements in survival are attributed to earlier detection of breast cancer through regular mammograms and improved treatment outcomes for breast cancer.
  • Although rare, breast cancer can also affect men, accounting for about 1% of cases.

Donate now to help save lives

Research is the only way to end breast cancer.

The National Breast Cancer Foundation, which does not receive government funding, is calling on all Australians for a donation.

It’s one way you can help the Foundation take a step closer to achieving its goal of zero deaths from breast cancer by 2030.

Remember, we are here to help. If you have any questions about breast cancer, please ask one of our GPs.

 

Source: National Breast Cancer Foundation.

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.

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