Breast Cancer

Did you know?

  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women in Western Australia, though men can also develop breast cancer.
  • In 2014, 1,737 Western Australian women were diagnosed with breast cancer.

Common symptoms of breast cancer include:

  • A lump, lumpiness or thickening in the breast or armpit, especially if it is only on one side
  • A change in the size, shape or feel of the breast
  • Change in the appearance of the breast eg dimpling (skin looks like the skin of an orange), puckering or redness on or around the breast
  • Changes to the nipple e.g. inversion (nipple pulled inwards), new discharge or itchy, ulcerated skin
  • New or persistent discomfort or pain, especially if it is only on one side
  • An area of the breast that feels different to the rest.

Get to know your breasts and what’s normal for you and if you notice any unusual changes tell your doctor, clinic nurse or Aboriginal health worker.

If you have had any of these symptoms tell your doctor, nurse or health worker.  It doesn’t mean you’ve got breast cancer – often they turn out to be something less serious.  But it’s important to tell your health professional and get them checked.

If it is breast cancer, the earlier it’s found, the greater the chance of successful treatment.

Reduce your risk

There are lots of things you can do to reduce your risk of breast cancer. Visit the breast cancer page on the Cancer Council WA website for more information.

Breast cancer myths and facts

Myth:  Age doesn’t matter when it comes to breast cancer.

Fact:  More than 9 out of 10 breast cancers are found in women over 40.

 

Myth:  Breast cancer always runs in the family.

Fact:  Most women who develop breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease.

 

Myth:  I don’t have a lump so it can’t be breast cancer.

Fact:  A lump isn’t the only symptom of breast cancer.  There are other important breast changes to look out for.

 

Myth:  My breasts have always felt lumpy so I don’t need to tell my doctor.

Fact:  It is important to tell your doctor, clinic nurse or health worker about any unusual lumps, regardless of how long you’ve had them for.

 

Myth:  Breast lumps have to be painful for it to be cancer.

Fact:  Breast lumps do not have to be painful to be cancer, so tell your doctor, clinic nurse or health worker about any unusual lumps you find.