The SBCF is dedicated to increasing awareness and supporting women with breast cancer. Find out more below about breast cancer support, education, research and advocacy.
Are you Breast Aware? Do you have a detailed look and feel once a month for any signs of change?
Self-breast examinations could increase the chances of early detection and diagnosis, and results have shown that such early detection leads to an increase in survival rates. You know your breasts better than anyone else so if you don't already check - now is the time to start. Early detection is the best prevention. Don't leave it until it's too late.
“Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular self breast examination is very important.” says Dr Cindy Mak, Director of Breast Services at Chris O'Brien Lifehouse
While mammograms can help you to detect cancer before you can feel a lump, self breast examinations help you to be familiar with how your breasts look and feel so you can alert your healthcare professional if there are any changes.
Place your hands at your sides and visually examine your breasts in the mirror, checking for anything which is not normal for your breasts – LOOK for changes in colour, size or shape, any dimpling of the skin or “pulling-in” of the nipple.
Put your hands on your hips, push your shoulders forward to flex your chest muscles and finally, raise your hands over your head, looking again for any changes with each movement. LIFT one hand up and place it behind your head.
Using the pads on your fingers of your opposite hand, FEEL in small circular movements and examine all areas of your breast for anything unusual. At first, feel lightly, checking for anything near the surface. Repeat, this time press firmly, feeling for anything deeper. Be consistent and ordered in the direction you check, making sure to check the entire breast, continuing up to your collarbone and out to the armpit.
If you do find something, or notice any changes in your breasts, see your GP immediately. Self-examination should be done in addition to, and not as a substitute for yearly breast examinations by your GP, and screening mammograms every two years (these are available free of charge through BreastScreen NSW by calling 13 20 50). It's important to remember that the vast majority of breast changes aren't cancer, but visit your GP as soon as possible anyway to see if further testing is needed.
There is a great deal of information on the internet about breast cancer. Whilst we suggest the following reputable sites as a good place to start sourcing information, we strongly recommend your speak with your breast cancer doctor or nurse about the relevance of any information you find, to your own particular situation.