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  1. Home News Put Your Pink On: October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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Most of us would sadly know someone that has been affected by breast cancer, seeing as it will affect 1 in 9 women over their lifetime in New Zealand.

Now, we’re fashionistas here at Blue Bungalow - not doctors - so the following is not medical advice and we encourage you to discuss your medical history with your health provider, but we did think that it was important to share some information with you lovely ladies and spread awareness to a cause that is close to our hearts this Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  

First, if you’re between the ages of 45 and 69, know that you’re eligible for a free mammogram every two years through BreastScreen Aotearoa. If you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, have had breast cancer in the past 5 years or have any symptoms you should talk to your doctor, as additional screening may be recommended.  

But there are things that you can do between mammograms that could quite literally save your life, as early detection is key. 

That starts with getting familiar with your boobs! Set a reminder in your calendar every month to perform a thorough self-examination. This will ensure that you know exactly what your breasts look and feel like so that you can notice any changes and promptly seek medical assistance.  

Breast Awareness

Here’s how to perform a breast self-exam according to the Mayo Clinic: 

1) Standing braless in front of a well-lit mirror, start by performing a visual inspection of your breasts. 

Look out for any changes in shape, color or symmetry and don’t forget to inspect your nipples as well, making sure that they are not suddenly inverted. You can start by looking at yourself standing with your hands on your sides, before putting them on your hips to engage your chest muscles and then standing with your arms overhead.  

2) Next, lying down on your bed or while in the shower, use the pad of your fingers to feel for any lumps and bumps using variable pressure. This can be easier to do with a bit of shower gel or massage oil so that your fingers can glide across your skin and using the same method on both breasts so that you don’t miss a spot – you could use a clockwise circular motion, for example. 

Remember to check under and around your armpits and near and above your collarbone where your lymph nodes are located.  

As mentioned above, in addition to lumps, look out for anything that feels unusual or different such as a change in breast size, shape or colour, any changes in your nipples, skin changes such as dimpling, irritation and redness, crusting, discharge or pain.  

Infographic Credit to BreastScreen NSW

If you do find a lump, don’t panic – most women have some lumps and bumps in their breasts – but do get it checked out by a doctor, especially if it’s a new lump or if there have been any other kind of changes since your last self-examination. 

And *news flash*, while not as common, men can develop breast cancer as they do have breast tissue so let your husbands, sons and nephews know that they should also be looking out for any lumps or changes.  

So this October, wear pink, spread awareness and donate to your preferred breast cancer foundation so that we can keep advancing cancer research and save as many lives as possible.  

For more information on breast cancer, including risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis and available treatments, visit the New Zealand Ministry of Health Website. 

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