Good breast health is in your hands

Stay abreast of good health this Oc­to­ber

Western Times - - FRONT PAGE - Ellen Rans­ley ellen.rans­[email protected]

BREAST health nurses are plead­ing for women of the south­west to bet­ter learn their bod­ies.

Oc­to­ber is Breast Can­cer Aware­ness Month, and lo­cal nurses are join­ing in on the fight, ask­ing women to make sure they know what they grow.

“IF YOU grow them, you should know them.”

That’s the mes­sage from the south­west’s res­i­dent Mc­Grath Foun­da­tion breast care nurse, Lisa Bow­man. She is one of 135 sta­tioned in com­mu­ni­ties across the coun­try.

“How the foun­da­tion was set up was that it was iden­ti­fied that a spe­cialised breast care nurse made such a dif­fer­ence to Jane (Mc­Grath)’s jour­ney, to have some­one help you nav­i­gate your way though it,” she said.

Ser­vic­ing women from Roma dis­trict west to Quilpie and Ero­manga, Charlevill­e south to Cun­na­mulla, Ms Bow­man es­ti­mates she works with 35 women, but knows there are prob­a­bly more in the area.

With cur­rent statis­tics sug­gest­ing 53 peo­ple will be di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer in Aus­tralia ev­ery day this year, about 19,371 women and 164 men are es­ti­mated to re­ceive a di­ag­no­sis each year.

“No two days are the same. It can be tak­ing phone calls or ring­ing peo­ple and just fol­low­ing progress and what they’re up to. It’s about gen­eral sup­port, just be­ing an ad­vo­cate for the peo­ple and giv­ing them in­for­ma­tion,” she said.

“I help them co-or­di­nate the ser­vices they need, maybe put re­fer­rals in place for them. It’s a lot of jobs rolled into one but some­times it is just lis­ten­ing.”

Part of Ms Bow­man’s job is also rais­ing aware­ness.

With Oc­to­ber be­ing Breast Can­cer Aware­ness Month, it serves as a re­minder of the im­por­tance of early de­tec­tion of the most com­mon can­cer di­ag­nosed in Queens­land women.

Ac­cord­ing to Can­cer Coun­cil Queens­land, one in eight women will be di­ag­nosed with the dis­ease, and one in 41 will die as a re­sult.

“Women should con­sult their GP if they no­tice a per­sis­tent lump, lumpi­ness or thick­en­ing of the breast,” CEO Chris McMil­lan said.

“If they no­tice changes to the nip­ple or dis­charge, any change to the shape, feel, size or colour of the breast, dim­pling, puck­er­ing or any un­usual breast pain.”

If you or some­one you know has breast can­cer and is look­ing for ex­tra sup­port, visit the Mc­Grath Foun­da­tion web­site.


BREAST AWARE: Lisa Bow­man is the south­west’s Mc­Grath breast care nurse.

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