As we pin our pink ribbons on for October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners is reminding people to touch, look, and check their breasts and if anything isn’t normal, call your GP.
Querying any concern you have about your body with your GP lets them check what’s going on, set up any further testing that’s required and gives you the best chance of diagnosis and treatment options. The earlier you get in touch, the better.
"Breast cancer is the most common cancer for Kiwi women, which is why it’s important to know the look and feel of your breasts and talk about any changes or concerns with your GP," says College Medical Director Dr Bryan Betty.
"Regular (free) mammogram screening should be done every two years for women aged 45 to 69 years, and your GP can organise that for you," he says.
Statistics show that most people getting breast cancer are female and over the age of 50 when they are diagnosed. However, around six percent of breast cancer in New Zealand occurs in people under the age of 40 and several men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year too.
Breast cancer doesn’t discriminate; it affects families, friend groups, and communities. If something doesn’t look or feel normal to you, then your GP is your first port of call to getting an accurate medical diagnosis and the help you need.