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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Affecting both men and women, breast cancer is the second most diagnosed cancer in Australia.

What is it?

Like all cancers, breast cancer develops when the cells within the breast tissue begin to grow and spread abnormally, forming tumors. Both men and women can develop breast cancer, however it is most prevalent in women and is the second leading cause of cancer death in women following lung cancer.

The number of women and men being diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia is increasing with 53 people being diagnosed daily on average. The good news is, however, the number of deaths from breast cancer is decreasing, and Australia has the best breast cancer survival rate in the world!

Prevention and diagnosing:

Being a woman, age and having a genetic predisposition for breast cancer are risk factors for developing breast cancer that cannot be changed. However, lifestyle factors such as monitoring your alcohol consumption and weight have been shown to reduce risk of developing breast cancer.

The best chance at surviving the disease is finding it early by being breast aware. You can keep an eye on your body without the use of any special equipment or a health practitioner.

Changes to look for include:

  • a new lump or lumpiness, especially if it's only in one breast
  • a change in the size or shape of your breast
  • a change to the nipple, such as crusting, ulcer, redness or inversion
  • a nipple discharge that occurs without squeezing
  • a change in the skin of your breast such as redness or dimpling
  • an unusual pain that doesn't go away.

Not all of these changes will be due to breast cancer, but it is important to check in with your doctor immediately if you notice any of these changes.

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