October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month which provides an opportunity to focus on breast cancer and the importance of early detection.
According to the National Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), breast cancer is the most common cancer in Australian women and the majority of cases (69%) are diagnosed in women aged 40-69.
The latest AIHW figures also reveal the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer is expected to rise in the future due to the ageing population. The projections indicate that in 2020 about 17,200 new breast cancers will be diagnosed in Australia.
Director of the Breast Clinic at Buderim Private Hospital and experienced breast physician, Dr Colleen O’Sullivan, said the figures were concerning because there was no way to prevent breast cancer a early detection was critical.
“In my experience, without doubt, one of the most common questions either verbalised or internalised by a woman with a new diagnosis of breast cancer is “Why me?” because of one of these reasons:
• I look after myself
• I exercise
• I eat well
• I don’t drink too much
• I have no family history
• I feel well
• I don’t have any symptoms
• I’ve never had anything wrong with me
• I’m too young
• I’m too old
“Unfortunately, breast cancer doesn’t discriminate and none of these statements will prevent a diagnosis of breast cancer,” Dr O’Sullivan said.
“Certainly, a “healthy” lifestyle which includes a well balanced diet, regular exercise and limited alcohol intake is to be aspired to for general well being and a lack of family history is fortunate. However, the risk of an Australian woman developing breast cancer in her lifetime is estimated at 1 in 8, regardless of circumstances.”
“The best offence is early detection for which regular screening is key. Mammograms affords us an opportunity to detect cancer when it is small (not able to be felt or seen as a physical change in appearance of the breast) and readily managed.”
The Breast Clinic at Buderim Private Hospital provides a comprehensive service including same day screening and diagnosis, and offers the latest technology 3D mammography which gives significantly more information than a standard mammogram.
For more information on the Breast Clinic visit buderimprivatehospital.com.au/breastclinic or phone 5452 0500.