2020 has been a difficult year – but let’s not forget our preventative health!
October is breast cancer awareness month. Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in Australian women, with 1 in 8 women diagnosed by the time they are 85 years old.
Risk factors for developing breast cancer include:
- Increasing age
- Family history – especially if a family member is <50 years old at diagnosis or if you have multiple family members with breast cancer
- Lifestyle factors such as alcohol consumption, weight gain and smoking
- Reproductive factors – not having had children, older age when your first child is born, older age at menopause
So what can you do to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer?
- Maintain a normal weight
- Reduce or even cut out your alcohol consumption -women who have 1 standard drink of alcohol per day have a 7% higher risk of breast cancer compared to women who don’t drink alcohol
- Quit smoking
- Ensure you are physically active
If you would like advice or assistance with any of these lifestyle modifications, speak to your GP.
Early diagnosis plays a role in survival rates so it is important to be ‘breast aware’
Things to look out for include:
- Changes in shape or size of your breast
- New lumps
- Changes to your nipple such as crusting, ulcers, inversion or discharge without squeezing
- Changes to the skin such as dimpling
- New pains that don’t go away
Most issues won’t be due to breast cancer, but if you notice any of these changes, don’t delay in coming to see your GP for an assessment.
BreastScreen Australia recommends mammograms every 2 years for all low-risk women between the ages of 50 and 74 years old and has funding from the age of 40 years old for those who want to- however the decision to screen can be an individual one depending on your risk factors and priorities, so come and discuss screening with your GP.
Navigating all the information about breast cancer, risks and screening available can be daunting, if you have any questions or would like to have a discussion about breast cancer and breast health discuss this with your GP
Posted By Dr Nicole Waugh.