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Follow these three tips to stay breast aware

02 October 2017 Blog
Cancer care
October is breast awareness month and it is a timely reminder for us all be proactive when it comes to our breast health. Breast Care Nurse Consultant Rosemary Gillies shares her three tips to stay breast aware.

One in eight Australian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 85. Ninety per cent of women diagnosed will be alive in 5 years. Early detection of breast cancer while it is small and still confined to the breast provides the best chance for effective treatment.

The McGrath Foundation’s Breast Health Index Key Findings (study behind breast health behaviour/knowledge) for the second year running revealed differences between belief and reality when it comes to the nation’s breast health.

Almost three quarters (73 per cent) of Australian women believe they are breast aware, yet fewer than one in five (16 per cent) fulfil the four criteria to be classified a ‘breastpert’ which includes breast awareness, confidence to detect changes in the breast, knowledge of risk factors for cancer and behaviour in terms of frequency of checking.

The news is not all bad though, with women who have spoken to their mother about both breast awareness and puberty significantly more likely to qualify for all four criteria (26 per cent vs 16 per cent overall). 

This research reinforces the need for mums to have conversations with their daughters about changes in the body and breasts when talking about puberty. By doing so, you will be helping your child develop habits to keep them healthy for life and take action to promote their own health and wellbeing.

The McGrath Foundation provides tips for how to start the breast health conversation with your teenager and an App that makes it easy to be proactive about your breast health by showing you how to check your breasts and reminding you to check each month.

Three tips to be breast aware

The McGrath Foundation’s Curve Lurve App is the easiest way to be breast aware by encouraging you to follow these three simple steps:

1. LOOK at the shape and appearance of your breasts

2. LURVE your pair by having a good feel

3. LEARN what is normal for you

To find out more about the McGrath Foundation's Curve Lurve initiative please visit: www.mcgrathfoundation.com.au/curvelurve

St John of God Health Care
Rosemary Gillies - Breast Care Nurse Consultant

Rosemary Gillies is a breast care nurse consultant at St John of God Bendigo Hospital. She has been a nurse for 25 years and has specialised in breast cancer nursing since 2011. Rosemary has been a McGrath Breast Care Nurse since 2014, and has a Graduate Diploma in Breast Cancer Nursing. Her role is to provide support and resources to families experiencing breast cancer diagnosis.