This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the McGrath Foundation is reminding central Victorian women that they are in control of their own breast health.
Central Victorian McGrath Breast Care Nurse Rosie Gillies is encouraging women to take the three-step approach to breast checking, 'Look, Feel, Learn'.
"It's really about having the confidence for central Victorians to check themselves, know the risks of breast cancer and know when to act on it," she said.
"This month is all about learning and taking control of your own breast health.
"We know the earlier the detection, the easier the treatment and the better the outcome."
Recent data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows more than two-thirds of breast cancers in women aged 40 and over are detected outside of the national screening program.
Ms Gillies said there has never been a better time to "get to know your pair".
"Many breast cancers are self detected, right now in this time in the pandemic, taking your own breast health into control is important and that could be simply regular self-checking," she said.
"It's knowing what's normal for your breast, if you grown them, know them.
"It's really about looking at yourself in the mirror, looking at the shape and size, and anything that really changes, you can call your doctor and GP.
"Some changes might not be cancer but if you're familiar with your breasts, the more likely you will be in picking up a change."
Ms Gillies said during the past 18 months there were reduced screening numbers in central Victoria.
"That's why it's important because we know self-detection works and if you detect something earlier, you can act on it and the outcome is better," she said.
Symptoms to look for are lumps, pain, thickening of the skin, redness, inverted nipples, dimples, skin sores and nipple crust or discharge.
The McGrath Foundation is asking everyone to follow this simple process, developed by its McGrath Breast Care Nurses, and to repeat it once a month.
The more you examine your breasts, the more you will learn about them and the easier it will become for you to tell if something has changed.
- Look - at the shape and appearance of your breasts and nipples in the mirror with your hands by your sides. Raise your arms above your head and have another look.
- Feel - all of your breasts and nipples, looking for anything that isn't normal for you. Feel from your collarbone to below the bra-line and under your armpit too.
- Learn - what is normal for you! Breasts come in all different shapes and sizes, so get to know your normal. See your Doctor if you notice any changes.
Ms Gillies said it was important to examine yourself several days after your period ends, when your breasts are least likely to be swollen and tender. If you are no longer having periods, choose a day that's easy to remember, like the first or last day of the month.
For more information on breast health understanding visit: mcgrathfoundation.com.au/
To find your nearest McGrath Breast Care Nurse, visit mcgrathfoundation.com.au/get-
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