Breast cancer remains the most commonly diagnosed cancer among WA women - and the second highest cause of cancer death. In fact, WA women have a 1 in 10 chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 75.
This is a statistic we're determined to change. That's why we're funding outstanding WA researchers working towards the next cancer breakthrough.
24-year-old Jessica Kretzmann is a Researcher at UWA and one our 2018 Research Grant Recipients. The grant Jessica received is known as a PHD Top Up Scholarship.
These are awarded to applicants who have outstanding track records in academic achievement, and the potential to pursue full-time PhD studies in WA based, cancer-related research.
Jessica's research aims to reduce a person's risk of developing breast cancer by designing, producing and testing safe and highly effective materials that can deliver genetic therapies to cancer cells.
"Cancer research is an ever-progressing field, with the science behind potential cures and treatments taking new directions.
"Unfortunately, cancer has affected almost everyone. This is why I've always been passionate about making a difference, through my research."
Thanks to advances in early detection, screening, treatment and prevention, more than 90 per cent of women with breast cancer are still alive 5 years after diagnosis.
Research is the undeniable key to cancer breakthroughs and the primary driver of progress in cancer outcomes. However, in order to continue funding world-class, WA based cancer research we need your help. There are many ways you can show your support this October, such as:
- Hosting a Girls' Night In fundraising event.
- Hosting a Pink Ribbon fundraiser.
- Making an online donation in support of West Aussies affected by breast cancer.
What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer is the growth of abnormal cells in the breast. There are a number of different types of breast cancers, most of which begin in the breast ducts. Both women and men can develop breast cancer, although breast cancer is rare in men.
There are several different types of breast cancer:
- Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), the most common type, and lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) are non-invasive breast cancers that are confined to the ducts or lobules of the breast.
- Invasive ductal or lobular carcinoma is an invasive breast cancer that starts in the ducts or lobules of the breast and can spread into the breast tissue. Invasive breast cancer may be confined to the breast and lymph nodes in the armpit (early breast cancer) or may have spread outside the breast to other parts of the body (secondary or metastatic breast cancer).
- Paget's disease of the nipple is a rare form of breast cancer that affects the nipple and the area around the nipple (the areola) and is commonly associated with an invasive cancer elsewhere in the breast.
- Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare form of invasive breast cancer that affects the lymphatic vessels in the skin of the breast, causing the breast to become red and inflamed.
How common is breast cancer?
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women of all ages. WA cancer stastics from show in 2014, there were 1,737 new cases and sadly 249 women died. Lifetime risk for breast cancer in women is one in 10 by age 75.
In WA males in 2014, there were 14 new cases and less than 5 deaths. Lifetime risk for breast cancer for men is one in 1,113 by age 75. Read our breast cancer in men article to learn more.
More than 70 per cent of all breast cancers occur in women aged 50 years and over.
How can you reduce your risk?
There are a number of lifestyle risk factors that increase the risk of breast cancer. These include being overweight or obese, not doing enough physical activity, poor diet and drinking alcohol. There are all risk factors we can do something about.
Things you can do to help reduce your risk of developing breast cancer include:
- Being screened for breast cancer through BreastScreen WA
- Being breast aware and check your breasts
- Getting at least 30 to 60 minutes or more of moderate to intensity physical activity on most days of the week
- Achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight
- Avoiding alcohol - if you choose to drink, limit your alcohol intake
What's involved in breast cancer screening?
Screening mammograms (breast x-rays) look for early signs of breast cancer in women without symptoms. Mammograms may find a breast cancer that is too small to feel. Screening mammograms are currently the best method available for early detection of breast cancer in women aged 50-74 years, and it's suggested during these ages that you get a mammogram every two years.
Looking for more information?
If you have any questions about breast cancer, cancer in general, or our research, support and education programs, call our cancer nurses on 13 11 20.
To find out more about the research projects we're funding this year, visit our research page.