Doctor urges women to make your bosoms your buddies

AS BREAST cancer awareness month starts, a specialist physician has urged women to take the time to really get to know their bosoms.

Breast physician Colleen O'Sullivan, a specialist in the field for 20 years, treats hundreds of patients a year and wants women to look down occasionally.

"I think certainly the buzzwords are being breast aware," she said.

"Know what the normal look and feel of your breast is like. If you notice anything that varies from that - if you notice a lump, notice an abnormality in the breast, or a change in the nipple, anything that is different than what is normal for you it is worth having a specialist check it out.

"Women forget to look at our breasts. We put on our clothes and check ourselves out in the mirror, but we haven't visualised our breasts."

Dr O'Sullivan also said people should enjoy "Pinktober".

"It's a time of community and remembering to be breast aware. Sometimes women are guilty of putting themselves last and not looking after their health," she said.

The specialist said regular screening from the age of 40 onwards was also key to early detection.

"We're going to find things then, when they're manageable and don't need more toxic therapies."

BreastScreen Queensland, which recently marked its 25th anniversary, screened 250,000 women last financial year. Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said the total number of Queensland women aged 50 to 69 years screened by the service was 4.7 million.

Back in 1991, the program screened less than 5000 women in its first year at its three BreastScreen services located at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Gold Coast and Townsville.

"Around 650 women have a breast screen every day, and over its history, this has led to more than 19,000 Queensland women being diagnosed with breast cancer," Dr Young said.

"We've also seen the five-year survival rate increase to 90%, which is up from 74% in the late 1980s."



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