Experts are reminding Australian women of the importance of regular check-ups and early detection ahead of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which kicks off on October 1.
Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) spokesperson Lisa Berger said breast cancer was the most common cancer among Australian women, with 20,000 new cases expected to be diagnosed in 2020.
“Breast Cancer Awareness Month provides us with an opportunity to focus on breast cancer and its impact on those affected by the disease in our community,” Ms Berger said.
BCNA will be holding its annual Pink Bun campaign again this year, at Bakers Delight stores from October 8 to 28.
“Every Bakers Delight bakery across the country will turn pink with 100 per cent of the sale of the iconic pink fun bun donated to BCNA,” Ms Berger said.
She said all funds raised from the campaign would go towards providing information and support to families affected by the disease.
“This year’s campaign is reminding Australians that a breast cancer diagnosis has a ripple effect extending far beyond those diagnosed,” Ms Berger said.
Ms Berger said breast cancer affected families, friends, workmates and communities as they supported their loved one through their cancer journey.
She said the Pink Bun campaign enabled Australians to show their support to all who have been impacted by breast cancer.
Seventy-seven-year-old breast cancer survivor Denise Maree said support was extremely important to a successful recovery.
“Without my family and friends around me, I wouldn’t have been able to get through my cancer treatment,” Ms Maree said.
The McGrath Foundation said knowing the symptoms of breast cancer and getting checked were crucial.
McGrath Foundation breast care nurse Leanne Storer said women who noticed any changes or abnormalities to their breasts should not panic but should book an appointment with their GP.
“Not all changes or lumps are signs of breast cancer, but it’s important to get checked,” Ms Storer said.
She said aside from developing a lump, there could be other symptoms involved that might indicate breast cancer.
Ms Storer said other symptoms could include nipple retraction, unusual discharge, swelling in the armpit, or change in the breast shape and size.
“It’s really important for people to have a good breast health understanding,” she said.
“This means knowing what your breasts look and feel like ‘normally’ so that you can confidently identify any changes.”
The Federal Government said in a statement early detection remained the best chance of survival for those with breast cancer and urged all women aged 50 to 74 to take up Breast Screen Australia’s invitation for a free screening.
However, Ms Berger said it was not just women who could get breast cancer; men could also get the disease too.
“This year it is expected that 170 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer,” she said.
“While this is a small proportion of the total number of people diagnosed – less than one per cent – it’s a diagnosis that can bring very specific challenges for men.”
For more information about breast cancer or to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month, contact the BCNA helpline on 1800 500 258 or visit the BCNA website.