Breast cancer is the abnormal growth of the cells lining the breast lobules or ducts. These cells grow uncontrollably and have the potential to spread to other parts of the body. Breast cancer is now the most common cancer affecting women and the second most common cause of cancer-related death in women. 1-in 8 Australian women will be diagnosed in their lifetime.1 Early detection is the best defence against breast cancer and the key to saving lives.
Women with close relatives who've been diagnosed with breast cancer have a higher risk of developing the disease. Having a mother, sister or daughter with breast cancer approximately doubles a woman’s risk2. However, not only women who have a family history of breast cancer are at risk. 9 out of every 10 women who develop breast cancer do not have any family history of the disease3.
You are encouraged to know your breasts. As part of your daily routine for checking your breasts, establish what is your ‘normal’ when it comes to look and feel. Most breast changes are not likely to be breast cancer. However, if you find a change in your breast that’s unusual for you, don’t delay in seeking advice from a health professional. They may recommend breast imaging be undertaken. There are many symptoms or warning signs to watch for4: