An important message from Dr Heidi Peverill
Thank you for joining our sea of pink at this year’s event—as a Breast, Melanoma and General Surgeon at Mater, I look forward to walking alongside you in support of the 19 866 Australian women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.
You’ve taken action to support others, but are you looking after your own health?
The most important thing you can do is to check your breasts (or encourage a loved one to check theirs).
Mammograms are offered for women aged 50 and older, but we encourage women of all ages to check their breasts monthly. Did you know that nearly 50% of women diagnosed find their breast cancer themselves?
This means that self-examination—and just generally becoming familiar with your breasts (or encouraging a loved one to become familiar with theirs)—is so important. It means that you (or they) will be able to recognise any changes, and is key for early detection.
If we, as medical professionals, find cancers earlier and smaller, the outcomes are much better.
In terms of breast cancer prevention, we now know that some lifestyle factors can help increase the chance a woman may develop breast cancer.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, keeping our weight in a healthy range, and minimising alcohol intake all contribute to reducing our breast cancer risk as we get older.
How to do a self examination
While checking your breasts, you should be looking out for lumps, feeling for any new pain, changes in your nipple or any tethering of the skin. Though it’s important to remember, if you have any concerns about any changes, please make an appointment with your general practitioner.