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Breast Awareness

Breast Awareness


Your breasts are an organ which enables you to provide breast milk for your baby after childbirth.  They are composed of a nipple, fat, glands and a network of ducts through which milk can pass from the glands to the nipple.



Breast cancer
Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancers found in women. However, survival rates for breast cancer are high with approximately 90% of women now beating the condition. Detecting breast cancer early increases the chance of survival, so breast awareness is crucial. Breast cancer is most common post menopause, so it is recommended that women between the ages of 50 and 74 have a mammogram every second year.


To reduce your risk of breast cancer:

  • eat a nutritious diet, including at least 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables each day,
  • reduce your alcohol intake as there’s a strong link between alcohol intake and an increased risk of breast cancer,
  • maintain a healthy weight as being overweight increases your risk of breast cancer,
  • be active as research shows that regular physical activity reduces your risk of breast cancer,
  • be aware of any changes to your breasts and get them checked by a doctor.


Types of changes to look for
Every woman’s breasts are slightly different. It is important to get to know the shape and feel of your breasts so that you will be aware of any changes. It is recommended that you undertake a regular breast self examination by feeling around all of your breast tissue from the collarbone to the bra line and across to each armpit. Look out for the following:

  • a new lump, especially if it’s only in one breast,
  • an unexpected change in the size or shape of your breast,
  • changes to a nipple such as a change in colour, crustiness, ulcers or inversion,
  • nipple discharge,
  • redness or dimpling of your breast, and/or
  • consistent pain.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is wise to seek advice from your local doctor.



Breast conditions
If you do notice changes to your breasts, don’t be alarmed. Changes to your breasts may also indicate:

  • Hormonal fluctuations – some women’s breasts become more swollen and/or lumpy just prior to menstruation
  • Fibroadenomas – harmless lumps of fibrous tissue
  • Cysts – small, fluid-filled sacs
  • Microcalcifications – tiny calcium deposits
  • Breast cancer – most breast changes don’t indicate cancer, but it’s always best to have any concerning changes checked out by your Health Care Professional just to make sure.


The content displayed on this webpage is intended for informational purposes and is a guide only. It does not replace or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Information contained on this webpage must be discussed with an appropriate healthcare professional before making any decisions or taking any action based on the content of this webpage.





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