Over 20,000 women in Australia have been diagnosed this year with breast cancer. Our clinic aims to reduce breast cancer incidence by discussing the symptoms, prevention and screening options for women.
Being breast-aware saves lives. Early detection is critical in the successful treatment of breast cancer. You can be breast-aware by regularly examining your breasts, knowing what is ‘normal’ for you and letting your doctor know of any noticeable changes.
What is breast cancer?
Breasts are comprised of ducts, glandular, connective and fatty tissues. Milk is produced in the lobules of the glandular tissue and passed through the ducts to the nipple. Breast cancer is the unregulated growth of cells within the breast and is the result of a mutation in these cells. It can happen at any age and is seen predominantly in women.
How to check your breasts
Regularly self-examining your breasts is essential in the early detection and treatment of breast cancer.
To perform a self-examination, start by looking at your breast in the mirror and lifting your arms above your head. Look for any changes in your breasts’ shape, size or colour. Next, lay on a flat surface and raise your left arm above your head. Using your right hand, begin palpating your left breast with 2 fingers in a circular motion. Ensure you feel the entire breast, from your abdomen to your collarbone and armpit. Repeat these steps on the opposite side.
The more often you self-check your breasts, the more you will know what is or not ‘normal’ for you. If you do notice any changes, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible to let them know.
How can you reduce your risk?
Everyone has a risk of developing breast cancer. However, there are certain factors which determine an individual’s breast cancer risk. Some of these factors cannot be changed, such as being a woman, older age, and inheriting a gene mutation that is linked to breast cancer. But there are lifestyle choices that impact your risk as well, which include being overweight, not exercising regularly, smoking, drinking more than 1 standard drink of alcohol a day and eating unhealthy food.
By making healthier lifestyle choices, you can decrease your risk of developing breast cancer.
Regular breast screening
Women aged between 40 and 74 are eligible for free breast screening every 2 years in Australia. You can book your free mammogram by calling BreastScreen on 13 20 50 or make an appointment online.
The Peter MacCallum Cancer and Research Centre have also developed a risk management test online, which takes 30 minutes to complete. The iPrevent™ program helps to facilitate screening, prevention and discussion of breast cancer between women and doctors. You can complete this test on their website.
If you would like to discuss any concerns or questions about breast cancer with your doctor, please call our reception team on (03) 5995 4988 or book an appointment online.