There are 3 steps to being breast aware
- Become familiar with the size and shape of your breasts
- Consult your GP if you notice any unfamiliar changes to your breasts
- If you are aged 50-74, have a mammogram at breast screen every two years.
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women in Australia, and 1 in 7 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. This is why it is crucial to be proactive at lowering your risk. This is most frequently done in the form of a mammogram and can be arranged through breast screen Victoria, as well as many radiology clinics with a referral from your GP. Women at a higher risk for breast cancer may need to start getting screened earlier. It is best to talk to your GP about your risk and whether you would benefit from earlier screening.
Find a breast screen location near you: https://www.breastscreen.org.au/locations/
As early symptoms of breast cancer may go unnoticed in the earlier stages, it is necessary for all women to be aware of their breast cancer risk and to be vigilant about breast cancer detection. One of the most reliable ways to prevent breast cancer is by ‘knowing your breasts’ – this is achieved by being familiar with the look and feel of your breasts.
You, as the owner of your breasts, are the best person to be able to notice a change. That means that you need to get familiar with your own breasts:
- Look at your breasts in a mirror with good light.
- Feel your breasts (breast self-examination)
Breast self-examination is best done in the shower or when you are lying flat. In the shower; use a soapy hand and keep your fingers flat to your chest. Start off with a circling motion around the outside of your breast and feeling with your flattened fingers in circles, move towards the middle and the nipple itself.
Breast self-examination will help you feel if there are any tender or lumpy aspects to the breast.
You can find more information on self-breast checks here: https://www.breastcancer.org/screening-testing/breast-self-exam-bse
When should i see my doctor?
The most important thing you can do is ensure that if you notice any changes in your breasts, such as a new lump, soreness or skin changes, it is important to tell your doctor right away.
Most changes are NOT due to breast cancer but it’s important to see your doctor without delay if you notice any of these changes.
Early diagnosis and treatment make a significant difference and may help to save your life. Our doctors and nurses can discuss any concerns you have about breast screening or breast health in general. Do not hesitate to reach out to us for support in maintaining your breast health.