Breast cancer can occur at any age. It is more common in women over 60 but nearly one-quarter of women diagnosed each year are younger than 50. Men can also develop breast cancer, although this is rare. More than 100 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in Australia.
There’s a good chance you know someone who has been affected by breast cancer and therefore know how vital continued research is if we are to improve on the current detection, treatment and survival rates. Cancer Australia advises that at the moment, 89 out of every 100 women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in Australia are surviving five years or more beyond diagnosis. Yes, our current survival rates are good but they can be better. And that means more funding is needed.
— HCF Australia (@hcfaustralia) September 30, 2016
October each year is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s an annual international health campaign organized by major breast cancer charities around the world to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month provides an opportunity for us all to focus on breast cancer and its impact on those affected by the disease in our community. While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to take the steps to have a plan to detect the disease in its early stages and encourage others to do the same.
Think Pink for breast cancer
October is the month to unite for the cause and consider organizing your own fund-raiser or supporting one of the many organized activities in your area. The month culminates in Pink Ribbon Day, Monday, 24 October, when all Australians come together to show their support for the many thousands of women affected by this insidious cancer.
The Cancer Council also hosts its Pink Ribbon Breakfast on this day. This long-standing premier event includes inspiring speakers and new information and updates about reducing the impact of breast cancer on women in Australia. The Pink Ribbon Breakfast is now accessible to everyone around the country via a live webcast so, regardless of location, you too can be part of this event. To register for the live webcast go to: www.pinkribbonevents.com.au
Paint the town Pink
The Cancer Council’s pink ribbon events website is full of ideas for fund-raising events which can be as big or small, as simple or as creative as you want it to be! Here are some examples:
Get your girlfriends together for a night to celebrate friendships that matter for a cause that matters. It can be big, small, lavish or low key.
Any workplace could always be a bit more colourful and pink is perfect. Ask everyone to wear pink to work on a specific day and make a donation.
Start everyone’s day off right and hold a pink breakfast at your office.
Pink Luncheon or BBQ
Get all your family and friends together, you could have a BBQ in your backyard or pink-themed food.
Pink Morning Tea
Gather your colleagues, friends, family together for a pink morning tea, you could even have a bake-off.
Come Up With Your Own Idea!
Or come up with your own fundraiser idea. You could hold a raffle, dye your hair pink, turn part of your community pink – the options are endless. Be as creative as you can!
There are also heaps of fund-raising ideas and events on the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) site.
What causes breast cancer?
The exact cause of breast cancer is unknown, but there are factors that increase the risk of developing this disease:
Having some of these risk factors does not mean that you will develop breast cancer and many women with breast cancer have no known risk factors, aside from getting older.
Early detection is vital
Women of all ages should be familiar with the normal look and feel of their breasts and if there is any change, consult their GP immediately. Take the time to find out what you need to know about breast awareness and share this important information with your family, friends and colleagues.
Free mammographic screening every two years is recommended for women aged 50-74 years, though it is available free to women from 40 years of age. Women can contact their local BreastScreen Australia service by phoning 13 20 50. Younger women in high risk groups may be screened by Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).