Women told to be breast aware

Be breast aware. It’s in your hands. That’s the message being given locally this week to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

A spokesperson from The Esperance Hospital said, “Quite simply, breast awareness means being familiar with how your breasts look and feel on a normal basis.

“If you are familiar with what is normal for your breasts, then it is more likely that you will notice any abnormalities at the earliest opportunity.

“If you’ve never thought of yourself as a vital weapon in the fight against breast cancer, now’s the time to start.

“ You know your breasts better than anyone. Their shape; how they feel; how they can differ at different times in your cycle.

“You’re therefore perfectly placed to be their best protector, by examining yourself regularly, going for routine check-ups if you’re advised to, and talking to your doctor if you find anything out of the ordinary.

“Most of us know of someone who has had breast cancer. Around 40,000 women are diagnosed with the disease each year, and in general the risk increases as you get older.

“What causes it? It seems to be triggered by a cocktail of factors working together.

“These can include your own genetic history, hormonal factors, diet, exercise, the way you live and environmental factors too.

“Get into the habit of checking yourself regularly. During a bath or shower is as good an opportunity as any. The best time to check your breasts is a few days after a period. This is because it’s entirely normal for lumps to occur in your breasts during your monthly cycle.”

See the box below for changes to look out for.

If you do find any change at all, mention it to your GP. Remember that many changes are entirely normal and due simply to your breasts developing or ageing.

It’s also true that most lumps in the breast are actually harmless. Similarly, pain in your breasts during your menstrual cycle is usually nothing to do with the disease.