Breast Cancer Awareness Month
BreastScreen Victoria encourages women aged 50 to 74 to be breast aware and book a breast screen during October, national breast cancer awareness month.
One in nine Victorian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. However, the statewide average participation rate for women in the target age group is just 54 per cent.
“The aging population means it’s more important than ever for all women from the age of 50 to 74 to have a breast screen every two years,” said BreastScreen Victoria CEO Vicki Pridmore.
Regular mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early, before symptoms are noticed and when treatment is likely to be most successful.
“Breast screens are conducted by a female radiographer and it only takes 10 minutes every two years."
Women diagnosed with breast cancer are surviving significantly longer than ever before. The five year breast cancer survival rate reached 90 per cent in 2007-11 and can be attributed to breast screening and improved treatment options.
In addition to regular screening, BreastScreen Victoria Health Promotion Manager Nikki McGrath urges women to be breast aware.
“Become familiar with the normal look and feel of your breasts. There's no right or wrong way to feel your breasts; some women might find it easier in the shower/bath, lying in bed or while they're getting dressed,” Mrs McGrath said.
Breast changes to look out for include:
- a new lump or lumpiness, especially if it's only in one breast
- a change in the shape or size of your breast
- a change to the nipple, such as crusting, ulceration, redness or recent 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.
“Nine out of 10 breast changes aren't due to cancer, but it's important to see a doctor to be sure. If you find a breast change that's unusual for you, see your doctor without delay.”
To make an appointment at a BreastScreen clinic near you, call 13 20 50 or book online at www.breastscreen.org.au.