Breast cancer has been found to be the most common cancer in Australian women (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer), with one in eight women diagnosed by 85 years of age. October is breast cancer awareness month.
There are a number of risk factors associated with breast cancers, some of which can be modified and some which cannot. While the causes of breast cancer are not fully understood some of the risk factors for developing the disease include, being a woman, increasing age and having a strong family history of breast cancer. Having a breast condition such as a personal history of breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) or lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) also increases the risk as does a number of hormonal factors, childbearing history and lifestyle.
Finding breast cancer early provides the best chance of surviving the disease. Remember you don’t need to be an expert or use a special technique to check your breasts.
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.
Your local community pharmacy is your health destination. Visit Lockyer Valley Pharmacy to purchase a Pink Ribbon or to make a donation to the National Breast Cancer fund for research.