Breast Cancer: We Can Help Detect It
There are always images of breast health in my inbox. We are told to keep healthy, feel for any changes, and get familiar with how breasts change through various life stages, get to know our breasts and notice any changes.
But it’s a character thing; I avoid going to the dentist regularly, massage is only for extreme pain and the many tests we are supposed to have really are on the bottom of my must-do list. I am very fortunate with my health, a long-term vegetarian and love to be outside, I don’t play sport but regularly do 5km charity runs and that requires frequent training and being in the fresh air.
A few years ago, my doctor demanded I let her do some tests because it had been quite a while. When the tests came back, she arranged appointments for me and hugged me when I left her surgery and I thought that was odd. I didn’t mention this to anybody but she rang my landline and let my partner know about the need for more tests. He came to the hospital where I had the tests, there were a few follow-up sessions and eventually I was cleared.
If women aren't encouraged to "get to know" their bodies and see the signs for early prevention of multiple illnesses and diseases, they are at risk. Many women have little focus on the signs or symptoms of breast cancer and don’t do regular self-breast checks.
BUT probably the best way for us all to keep healthy and stay on top is to learn and notice our own body's ‘normal’. A manual breast check involves slowly moving our hands across the chest, under the arms, and across and around the nipples, North to South, East to West and arms up and down.
Every curve and nerve tells us something. Do not ignore it. It is your closest friend and will alert you when something needs attention.
Breast cancer is the second highest cause of cancer-related death for women and 75% of breast cancer diagnosis occurs over the age of 50 in Australia. All women over 50 are encouraged to have mammograms every two years, they are free through Breast Screen Australia. In reality, it’s a very simple test that takes about 15 minutes and the results are then very soon confirmed. It is so necessary and Australian women are very well supported.
On my must-do list is bone density, blood tests and more, I will get there but I feel I am on top of the most relevant and easy to complete, manual breast checks and breast screen every two years. Let us all protect our health, know our body’s normal and do regular checks. Stay well.
Brava has partnered with the National Breast Cancer Foundation and is donating $1 from every bra and brief sold in the month of October to support world-class research into the treatment and prevention of breast cancer.