October is breast cancer awareness month, so we are shining the light on the two ways to detect breast cancer early - being breast aware and for eligible women, participating in screening with BreastScreen WA.
Did you know that breast cancer is the most common cancer in women of all ages - and the second highest cause of cancer death?
WA women have a 1 in 10 chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 75.
Men can also be diagnosed with breast cancer, but it is much less common - WA men have a 1 in 1135 chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 75.
Read more breast cancer statistics.
Being breast aware and knowing what to look for could help find breast cancer early and increase the chance of successful treatment.
Everyone's breasts are different. It is important that you get to know what your breasts look and feel like, so you know what is normal for you.
There is no right or wrong way to do this, however the following suggestions can be used as a guide:
- Look in the mirror and feel your breasts from time to time
- Feel them while you are in the shower or bath, lying in bed or getting dressed
- Remember to feel all the breast tissue, from your collarbone to below the bra line and underarms
- Use the flat part of your fingers and finger pads to feel near the surface and deeper into the breasts
- A lump, lumpiness or thickening in the breast or armpit, especially if it is only on one side
- A change in the size, shape or feel of the breast
- Change in the appearance of the breast eg: dimpling (skin looks like the skin of an orange), puckering or redness on or around the breast
- Changes to the nipple e.g. inversion (nipple pulled inwards), new discharge or itchy, ulcerated skin
- New or persistent discomfort or pain, especially if it is only on one side
- An area of the breast that feels different to the rest.
The second way to detect breast cancer early is by participating in breast screening with BreastScreen WA.
Women aged between 50 and 74 are invited to access free screening mammograms every two years via the BreastScreen WA Program.
Women aged 40-49 and 75 and over are also eligible to receive free mammograms, however do not receive an invitation to attend.
For more information about the risks, screening and diagnosis of breast cancer, visit our Breast Cancer page.