In Australia all women over the age of 50 and select women from the age of 40 should undergo Breast Cancer Screening every 2 years.
This is most commonly in the form of a mammogram and can be arranged through Breastscreen Victoria as well as many radiology clinics with a referral from your GP [book here link]. The closest Breastscreen Victoria to Albert Road General Practice is The Rose Clinic conveniently located on level 3 within David Jones Women’s store in Bourke Street in the CBD. Check out other locations via the breast screen website here.
A discussion with your GP regarding your risk of breast cancer is important to help you to understand if you are at a ‘standard’ or ‘increased risk’ of breast cancer.
As breast cancer symptoms may not be obvious early, it is important for all women to have an awareness of their breast cancer risk and be vigilant in monitoring for early symptoms such as lumps or changes to your breasts.
You can start your own breast cancer screening at home. One of the most reliable ways to detect early breast cancer is by ‘knowing your breasts’. This is achieved through awareness and a familiarity of the shape and size of your breasts.
You should check your breasts at least once a month, ideally during the same time of your menstrual cycle if you are still having regular periods. Both a visual inspection in the mirror with your arms by your side as well as both arms above your head and a systematic check in all the parts of your breast.
Most importantly, if you find anything suspicious or unusual don’t delay seeing your doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment makes a huge difference and could save your life.
Breast cancer screening can help you notice anything that’s changed or doesn’t feel right. If you need any help with how to self screen your breasts, ask your doctor for more information.