The chance of a woman developing breast cancer up to age 85 is 1 in 8. One woman dies from breast cancer every 16 hours in Queensland.
While those figures sound depressing, when breast cancer is detected early, women have a much greater chance of being treated successfully. And for most women, the cancer will not return after treatment.
Breast cancer will affect all of us at some time in our lives; whether it be a loved one, colleague, friend – or ourselves – diagnosed with this common form of cancer. Breast cancer is often thought of as a woman’s disease, but it also occurs in male glandular chest tissues as well. Knowing the signs is key to early detection.
A defined lump is not always the first sign of breast cancer. Breast cancer symptoms can include:
- Thickening of the breast tissue
- Nipple discharge
- Redness or scaling of the nipple
- A nipple that becomes inverted (turned inwards)
- Unexplained redness, swelling, skin irritation, itchniness or rash on the breast.
Women of all ages should be familiar with the normal look and feel of their breasts. If you notice any of the following changes please see your doctor immediately:
- A lump, lumpiness or thickening of the breast
- Changes in the skin of a breast, such as puckering,dimpling or a rash
- Persistent or unusual breast pain
- A change in the shape or size of a breast
- Discharge from a nipple, a nipple rash or a change in its shape
The signs of breast cancer can involve all of these – or none at all. It’s important to remember that the best defence you have is you own ‘gut instinct’.
If you feel your breasts have changed unexpectedly – or something just isn’t right – listen to your inner alarm bell. When it comes to breast cancer, it is far better to have a screening ‘just in case’ that continue with a niggling feeling something could be wrong.
Dr David Sharp is committed to providing breast reconstruction education to women who have undergone partial or total mastectomy surgery in the Brisbane, Ipswich and regional areas of Queensland and Northern New South Wales. If you or someone you care about has had breast cancer surgery and would like to find out more about their options for reconstruction, please contact us on 07 3202 4744.
Click here to view some helpful links about breast cancer and reconstructive surgery.