Women urged to be breast aware

Women urged to be breast aware.

It is very important to go directly to a doctor if you notice a symptom — do not wait to participate in screening.

This article was written by Rachel Jolly and was published in the Kalgoorlie Miner on 02 October 2018.

Cancer Council WA is urging women in regional WA to use Breast Cancer Awareness Month as a reminder to be aware of the common symptoms of the disease and participate in screening.

Breast cancer remains the most commonly diagnosed cancer among WA women and the second highest cause of cancer death.

WA women have a one in 10 chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer by the age of 75.

In 2014, 249 West Australian women died from breast cancer.

The good news is that thanks to research and advances in early detection, screening and prevention, more than 90 per cent of women with breast cancer are still alive five years after diagnosis.

It is common for women from regional WA to delay going to the doctor when they experience symptoms.

If you are unsure about a possible symptom, you should make an appointment to discuss the change with your doctor, clinic nurse or Aboriginal health worker without delay.

It is very important to go directly to a doctor if you notice a symptom — do not wait to participate in screening.

Being breast aware and knowing what to look for could help find breast cancer early, which means there are more treatment options and the chances of survival are greatest.

The symptoms you should be looking out for are new persistent pain or discomfort, a change in the shape, size or feel of your breasts, or any lump or lumpiness or thickening either in the breast or under your arm.

Any skin changes are important to report, too — redness or puckering, or dimpling of the breast. And of course any changes in the position of the nipple or nipple discharge may be important.

Most women who develop breast cancer do not have a family history.

That is why it is so important to get to know your body and know what is normal for you. If you are a woman aged 40 or over, you can access the free screening mammography service in Kalgoorlie.

BreastScreen WA’s mobile service will be located at GIFSA carpark, 23 Federal Road from October 2 to 22. To make your free screening mammogram appointment, book online at breastscreen.health.wa.gov.au or call 13 20 50.

During the month of October, Cancer Council WA is encouraging West Australian women to get together with their girlfriends to raise awareness of breast cancer and raise much-needed funds for research and support for women affected by breast and gynaecological cancers.

To host a Girls’ Night In fundraiser with your girlfriends this month, register at www.girlsnightin.com.au.

Rachel Jolly
Rachel Jolly is the Cancer Council WA regional education officer for the Goldfields.

Visit the Kalgoorlie Miner website here

Photo credit: Joseph Pearson