As October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month internationally, it allows all of us the opportunity to help support those men and women who suffer, have suffered, continue to suffer or indeed support anyone who has been affected by breast cancer in their lives.
Most importantly, it is the month to become ‘breast aware’ and to remind all those you love to also be more attentive to their breasts, become accustomed to their ‘look and feel’ and to report any breast changes to your GP.
Finding breast cancer early affords the best chance of surviving and beating the disease.
You don’t need to be an expert or use any special technique to check your breasts.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN SELF EXAMINATION
- lumpiness or a new lump, especially if it’s only in one breast
- a change in the size or shape of your breast
- a change in the nipple, such as crusting, redness, ulceration or inversion
- any nipple discharge that occurs without squeezing
- any change in the skin of your breasts, such as redness, rashes or dimpling
- any unusual pain in your breast/s.
It’s important to note that most changes are not due to breast cancer, but it is important to see your doctor as soon as possible to check for sure.
*DON’T FORGET TO GET YOUR FREE MAMMOGRAM EVERY 2-5 YEARS IF YOU ARE OVER 40
Cancer Australia says it’s important to separate fact from fiction in regards to risk factors.
You need to know that there are a few things that may increase your chance of developing breast cancer and you can certainly take steps to reduce your risk.
To find out more about risk factors, go to The Breast Cancer Risk Factors Website Here.
LINKS & SUPPORT
If you are worried about your risk of developing breast cancer, see your doctor with any concerns. You can also visit our What you can do page to learn how to be breast aware, know the symptoms to look out for and reduce risk through healthy lifestyle choices.
For women with breast cancer
If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, you might feel overwhelmed, scared, anxious or upset – these are all normal feelings. It’s very important to have support from family, friends, health professionals or other services to help you cope with cancer.
- iPrevent is a validated breast cancer risk assessment and risk management decision support tool designed to facilitate prevention and screening discussions between women and their doctors. Click here to assess your risk of breast cancer.
- Breast Cancer Network Australia is a national organisation that supports Australians affected by breast cancer. BCNA aims to ensure that Australians affected by breast cancer receive support, information, treatment and care appropriate to their needs. Contact BCNA for help and support for you and your loved ones in dealing with the challenges of breast cancer
- Living with cancer has information about physical, emotional and practical issues during and after diagnosis and treatment
- Cancer Australia’s resource Cancer – how are you travelling? provides information to help you understand the emotional and social impacts of cancer
- The Cancer Council in your state or territory can give you general information about cancer, as well as information on resources and support groups in your local area. Call the Cancer Council Helpline from anywhere in Australia for the cost of a local call on 13 11 20.
- Other cancer support organisations can also help you and your loved ones deal with the challenges of breast cancer
SOME WORTHWHILE ORGANISATIONS TO HELP OR SUPPORT
There are so many worth while foundations you can support internationally and within Australia.
Here are just a few in Australia:
The National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) is Australia’s leading national body funding world-class, game-changing breast cancer research. Women lose their life every day to breast cancer. They receive no government funding and need your continued support to change the statistics. You can support them here.
You may also wish to support:
- Pink Ribbon (Cancer Council)
- Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA)
- McGrath Foundation
- ANZ Breast Cancer Trials Group
- Australian Breast Cancer Research
- Project Pink – PA research
- Cancer Council Queensland
- Cancer Council NSW
- Cancer Council Victoria
- Breast Cancer Care WA
- Cancer Council Tasmania
- Cancer Council SA
- Bosom Buddies ACT
- Cancer Council NT