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Raising breast cancer awareness in October

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Max Davies
Max Davies
Max is a journalist for the North Central Review. He joined the paper as a cadet journalist in 2021 and graduated from La Trobe University in 2023. He takes a keen interest in motorsport and the automotive industry.

October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which helps raise awareness of the disease, educate about its symptoms and prevention, and fund research into causes, treatment, and cure.

Since the campaign’s inception in 1985, rates of diagnosis have increased, while mortality rates have continued to fall.

Northern Health breast care nurse consultant Cheryl Murray said early detection was key.

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“The sooner the cancer is identified, the sooner treatment options can be explored,” she said.

Advancements in imaging and treatment mean patients receive a tailored care plan allowing them to live longer and fuller lives, with overall figures sitting at about 92 per cent life expectancy beyond five years post-diagnosis.

In 2022, the risk of a person being diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime was one in seven for women and one in 555 for men. About 75 per cent of new cases were diagnosed in women aged 50 and over.

“BreastScreen Australia figures show that 60 per cent of cancers detected were less than 15 millimetres in size, while only 28 per cent of cancers of the same size were found using non-screen detection methods,” Ms Murray said.

“Regular breast screening is vital, but knowing ‘your normal’ is important too. Breasts come in all different shapes and sizes, so be breast aware.”

BreastScreen Victoria provides free mammograms to women and trans and gender-diverse people with no signs or symptoms of breast cancer between the ages of 50 and 74.

BreastScreen Australia has a free screening program available for people in the 40 to 49 age bracket.

To hear more about Ms Murray and the work being done by Northern Health’s breast care team, people can tune into the latest episode of Visiting Hours, a Northern Health podcast, by visiting www.nh.org.au/media-centre/podcast-visiting-hours. It is also available wherever people listen to their podcasts.

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