October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Australian women.

1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer by the age of 85.

Early detection of breast cancer through mammogram increases the chance of survival and ensures that women have all treatment options available to them.

Some people experience no symptoms, however symptoms can include:

  • New lumps or thickening in the breast or under the arm
  • Nipple sores, discharge or turning in
  • Changes in the size or shape of the breast
  • Skin of the breast dimpling
  • Rash or red swollen breasts

There are various factors that can increase your risk of breast cancer, which include:

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Inheritance of mutations in the genes BRCA2, BRCA1 and CHEK2
  • Exposure to female hormones
  • Previous breast cancer diagnosis
  • Being overweight
  • Not enough physical activity
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Benign breast disease or past exposure to radiation

BreastScreen Australia invites women between the ages of 50-74 to attend a free screening every two years.

Women aged between 40-49 or 75 and over are also eligible for a free screening.

If you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer and are aged between 40-49 or 75 and older, talk to your GP about whether you should have a mammogram.

Early detection is the best protection. For more information contact BreastScreen Australia on 13 20 50 or visit their website.