Tasmanian women are being urged to be Breast Aware on the eve of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The Manager of Clinical Governance and Accreditation at BreastScreen Tasmania, Lyn Gibson, said it was vitally important that women know the normal look and feel of their breasts so they can notice anything unusual.
Ms Gibson said throughout October, BreastScreen Tasmania will have special silicone breast models on display at the Hobart and Launceston clinics.
The breast models are designed to assist women in learning about breast changes.
"The breast models contain lumps of various shapes and sizes reflecting different types of breast changes.
"Women are invited to come along to the clinics in Hobart and Launceston at any time during business hours to look at and feel the models."
Ms Gibson said October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and being breast aware means knowing what looks and feels normal for you, so that if any unusual change occurs, you will recognise it.
The sooner you notice any changes the better, because if cancer is found early, treatment is more likely to be successful. Get into the habit of looking at and feeling your breasts.
Recent and persistent changes to look for include:
- An unusual change in the size or shape of your breast
- A change on or around the nipple
- Nipple discharge, including blood
- Changes to the skin including its texture, colour, dimpling or puckering
- Swelling in the armpit or around the collarbone
- A lump or thickening in the breast
- Constant pain in the breast or armpit.
Most breast changes are not cancer. However, it is important to see your GP about any new and persistent changes that you find.
Ms Gibson said a record number of women had been screened by BreastScreen Tasmania in the last financial year.
"More than 28 000 Tasmanian women had a mammogram at the service during 2012-13, improving their chances of early detection and successful treatment.
"More than 1 000 additional mammograms were performed compared to the previous year, which was also a record.
"While this is great news, as Tasmania's population ages more women will be eligible for screening, so we urge women to make an appointment.
"All women should be breast aware because it gives you the best chance of noticing a new and persistent change early, and if necessary having treatment in order to improve the likelihood of a successful outcome," Ms Gibson said.
If you are a woman over 40, BreastScreen Tasmania recommends you have a free mammogram every 2 years.
To make an appointment call 13 20 50. Clinics are based in Hobart and Launceston, with the mobile bus servicing remote and rural areas.