Home' LOTL : October 2010 Contents 16 Lesbians On The Loose Magazine • lotl.com
Breast Cancer Feature
As the most common cancer in Australian
women, with about 35 women diagnosed eve-
ry day, is it any wonder breast cancer tops
our list of health concerns?
For women living in Australia today, the chance
of being diagnosed with breast cancer is higher
than it was in the 1980s. However, sur vival rates
have signi cantly improved over this time due to
earlier detection and better treatment.
Our most important weapon in this battle is
early detection which requires clear, accurate and
evidence based information for women to enable
them to take control of their health.
The risk factors -- no myths, just facts
e most signi cant risk factors for breast can-
cer are being female, getting older, an inherited
faulty gene and having a strong family history of
Dr Helen Zorbas, CEO National Breast and
Ovarian Cancer Centre, acknowledges these
factors are beyond your control but stresses it is
important to know about them in order to put
breast cancer risk in perspective.
"Being a woman is the strongest risk factor for
breast cancer," said Dr Zorbas. Many people may
not be aware that men can develop breast cancer
too. But the vast majority of breast cancers are di-
agnosed in women..
"As women get older, their risk of breast cancer
increases. Yet only half of the women we surveyed
recognised increasing age as a risk factor for breast
cancer" said Dr Zorbas. Although breast cancer
can occur in women of all ages, three out of four
women diagnosed are aged 50 years or older.
Inherited genetic factors
A faulty gene, inherited from either side of the
family, signi cantly increases risk for breast can-
cer. e most common mutations that may be
involved in the development of breast or ovarian
cancer are BRCA1 and BRCA2.
However it is important to note that less than
one per cent of the female population are at po-
tentially high risk of breast cancer due to inher-
ited genetic factors.
Dr Zorbas said "Women who have a strong
family history of breast cancer on either their
mother or father's side should discuss this with
their GP. If the risk is determined to be high,
they may then be referred to a family cancer clin-
ic where genetic testing may be o ered, and risk-
reduction and management advice provided."
Lifestyle changes that can reduce your cancer
e good news is large studies have shown there
are some lifestyle changes that impact on risk for
breast cancer. Cancer Research UK has estimat-
ed that if women began to make healthy changes
to their lifestyles now, that by 2024 one in 10
cases of breast cancer could be prevented.
Limit alcohol consumption
"Drinking alcohol increases risk for breast can-
cer and the risk increases with each additional
drink per day," said Dr Zorbas. "So it is impor-
tant to keep your alcohol intake down and have
alcohol free days".
Maintain a healthy body weight
Post-menopausal women with a body mass index
(BMI) greater than 25 have a signi cantly great-
er risk of developing breast cancer, compared to
leaner women with a BMI less than 21, so it is
important to maintain a healthy body weight.
Participate in regular physical activity
Active women of all ages are at reduced risk of
breast cancer compared to women who do not
October marks Breast Cancer Awareness month, the National Breast
and Ovarian Cancer Centre gives us the facts all women should know.
Michele Lindsay B.A. (Psychology-Education), Grad. Dip. Couns.
Brisbane, QLD Ph: 0439 157 422
Dr Jennifer Flatt BA(Hons), MPsychol(Hons), PhD, MAPS clinical
and consulting psychologist
Blackheath NSW Ph: 02 4787 7576
Lily eld NSW Ph: 02 9564 1998
E: enquiries@dr att.com.au W:dr att.com.au
Di Kellett Psychtherapist Member of The Australian Centre for Psychoanalysis
Clifton Hill, VIC Ph: 03 9489 9974 Mob: 0418 999 881
Julie Miller Counsellor
Balmain NSW Ph: 0432 446248
Sue England Counsellor/Psychotherapist Clinical Member CAPA 39176,
PACFA Reg 21346
Sydney, NSW Ph: 0458 402 940
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