HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW YOUR BREASTS?

Breast Cancer Ribbon

Were you aware, that October is breast cancer awareness month? Breast screening is another of my hot topics that I feel needs to be discussed more openly. It has been widely known for a very long time that the sooner breast cancer is detected, the better the outcome. Why then is breast screening another of those topics that it’s not ok to talk about? Surely, the more it’s talked about, the more people will check that those women in their lives that they are close to, are checking their breasts correctly. My partner was only 14yrs old when his mother was first diagnosed with breast cancer and it was only a few weeks before his 21st birthday, that she sadly passed away. A couple of months ago, it was the 5th anniversary of a small lump being found in his sister’s breast. The lump was detected during a routine mammogram. Thankfully, minor surgery and preventative medication have provided a positive outcome. I’ve been doing it for that long now, that I can’t even remember what age I was when I started checking my own breasts. The very first day that I became eligible for fully funded mammograms, I registered and booked my first appointment. I did feel a small amount of discomfort during the screening process. But, it was nothing major and in my opinion a lot less invasive than having a cervical smear test done. Isn’t a little or a lot of discomfort for a short while, worth it when you consider that it could save your life?

 

WHAT IS BREAST CANCER?

Normally, the cells in our breasts are created, grow and die in a controlled way. However, when abnormal changes occur in the genes which usually regulate this process, normal gene function can be turned on or off. Damaged cells are then able to keep growing and dividing and a tumour is formed. Between 85 & 90% of breast cancers are caused by this process. The other, 5-10% are due to an inherited gene mutation.

Breast Cancer Muffins
NZ Breast Cancer Foundation

THE FACTS

Benign Tumour is a non-cancerous growth which does not spread to other areas of the body and not usually not life-threatening. Malignant Tumour is cancerous and does have the potential to grow and spread to form secondary tumours. When this happens, it’s called advanced, metastatic or secondary breast cancer.

  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer of New Zealand women and the 3rd most common cancer overall.
  • Between 70 75% of the women diagnosed with breast cancer in New Zealand are aged 50 plus.
  • 6% of women diagnosed with breast cancer in New Zealand are 40yrs or younger.
  • In New Zealand 25 males each year are diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • More than 600 New Zealand women die each year from breast cancer.
  • 30% of eligible women in New Zealand do not access fully funded breast screening.

 

WHAT SIGNS DO I LOOK OUT FOR?

Breast Cancer Check
NZ Breast Cancer Foundation

 

HOW DO I EXAMINE MY BREASTS CORRECTLY?

 

HOW CAN I REDUCE THE RISK OF BREAST CANCER?

  • Stop smoking
  • Limit Alcohol consumption
  • Healthy body weight
  • Regular exercise
  • Healthy eating
  • Manage stress

 

THERE IS NO INCREASED RISK OF BREAST CANCER FROM:

  • A blow or injury to the breast
  • Wearing underwire bra’s
  • Carrying your mobile phone in your bra
  • Standard saline or silicone implants
  • Deodorants or antiperspirants
  • Abortion
  • Commercial or home hair dye kits
  • Electromagnetic fields from wires or electronic devices

 

Jenni XXX

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  • A very timely reminder post. Thank you.

  • sydneyshopgirl

    Thanks for the reminder, Jenni.

    SSG xxx

    • I think it’s something we all need to get in the habit of doing, checking your own breasts doesn’t take long, but they could be the most valuable minutes.

  • Alicia-OneMotherHen

    I missed that October was Breast cancer awareness month. I have started my screening. A little known fact it is free for women over 40 in Australia on the breast screen trucks that go to smaller towns, and I got myself on one of those trucks! Never too early to start screening.

    • I agree, it’s never to early to start checking your own breasts and then do the screening as soon as you are eligible.

  • LydiaCLee

    Our doctors make you have a check up…

  • Kathy Marris

    A very timely post since I only had my breast scan this week. I’m very aware of breast cancer as I’ve had many close girlfriends that have had this disease. Fortunately they are all still alive because they had the cancer detected early. I do examine my own breasts regularly for any changes. #TeamLovinLife

    • I’m so pleased you do the self checks Kathy, so many don’t and only rely on the bi annual screening to pick anything up.

  • I am on the 2 yearly checkup system via Breast Screen NSW and will get notified in the next few weeks about my check. It is a good service. Yes, far too many have breast cancer and some do die which is incredibly sad. Thanks for linking up for LifeThisWeek 41/52. Next week: Travel Tales.

    • It sure is a great service, I just wish that more women would make the most of it, especially when it’s often free.

  • Min Gillespie

    It’s always great to see posts about checking your breasts and being tested! I am checked via mammogram every 2nd year with Breast Screen Qld and they send me reminders. What a fabulous service and I’m so grateful for it. #TeamLovinLife

  • writeofthemiddle

    It’s always great to see posts about checking your breasts and being
    tested! I am checked via mammogram every 2nd year with Breast Screen
    Qld and they send me reminders. What a fabulous service and I’m so
    grateful for it. #TeamLovinLife

    • I think it’s something we all know we need to do, but when life gets busy things like this are often the first things we let go.

  • You’ve reminded me I’m overdue for a breast screen. I had a lump years ago so got checked then and have tried to go bi-annually even though I’ve been under 50 so I must make an appointment! Thanks for the reminder! #teamlovinlife

  • Timely post
    #teamlovinlife