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 2017, 1,830 Western Australian women were diagnosed with breast cancer.

Common symptoms of breast cancer include:

  • A lump or hard area in your breast or underarm, especially if it is only on one side
  • A change in the size, shape or feel of your breast
  • Change in the look of your breast, like: your skin looks like the skin of an orange, your skin is wrinkling in small folds, redness or rash.
  • Changes to the nipple, like it’s: pulled inwards, leaking, itchy or has a sore that won’t heal
  • Breast pain or discomfort, 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.