The incidence of breast cancer in Australia is increasing and 20,458 women and 217 men are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia this year.
One in seven women in Australia will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime making it the most diagnosed cancer for women.
While survival rates have improved it is still the second leading cause of cancer death in women. In 2023, it is estimated that 3,291 women will die from breast cancer. It is also estimated that we will continue to see increasing numbers of diagnosis.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month provides an opportunity for all of us to focus on breast cancer and so this month we are proud to highlight the fantastic work of the McGrath Foundation.
We are also proud to be part of an industry, that while male dominated, has always supported breast cancer awareness. Because breast cancer affects everyone, not just the person diagnosed.
BREAST HEALTH UNDERSTANDING
As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the McGrath Foundation encourages people to understand the importance of breast awareness and self-checking. Kerry Patford, McGrath Foundation Chief Nurse answers some key questions.
Why is early diagnosis of breast cancer so important?
Breast cancer that is caught at an earlier stage is often easier to treat, leading to much better patient outcomes. It is vital people have good breast health understanding, including being aware of the importance of breast health, having confidence to recognise changes in your breasts, knowing the risk factors for breast cancer, and learning how to complete your own regular breast check.
What should a person do at home to assist in early detection?
Now is a great time to begin conducting regular self-checks to develop an understanding of what your chest looks and feels like normally. You can learn about the signs and symptoms of breast cancer by looking at reputable websites such as Cancer Australia or the McGrath Foundation website.
In consultation with our McGrath Breast Care Nurses, we’ve developed three easy steps to help people self-check called ‘Look, Feel, Learn’.
Look – at the shape and appearance of your breasts and nipples in the mirror with your hands by your sides. Raise your arms above your head and have another look.
Feel – all of your breasts and nipples looking for anything that isn’t normal for you. Feel from your collarbone to below the bra-line and under your armpit too.
Learn – what is normal for you! Breasts come in all different shapes and sizes, so get to know your normal. See your doctor if you notice any changes.
You can find the ‘Look, Feel, Learn’ information on checking your breasts on the McGrath Foundation website.
How often should this process be followed?
This process should be followed once a month, at the same time each month.
If you discover a lump or abnormality, you must visit your GP or health centre.
Find your nearest breast care nurse by searching the McGrath Foundation website www.mcgrathfoundation.com.au/get-support/find-a-nurse
SHOW YOUR SUPPORT
What can you do to support your workmate who has a breast cancer diagnosis? Here’s some advice.
You can start by taking the time to check in with them and ask how they are getting on. Be available to listen and let them know you care. Don’t worry about not knowing what to say, just be yourself.
Practical help can go a long way. Ask if they need a hand around the house or perhaps you could do some shopping for them. Offer to drive them to treatments or appointments or watch their pets for them.
What won’t help is avoiding the person because you feel uncomfortable. You should also never make assumptions about what they can and can’t do. Everyone’s breast cancer experience, including side effects and recovery, is different.
Facing breast cancer is difficult, and often just being there for the person is the most important thing.
The McGrath Foundation has become one of Australia’s most recognised and respected charities since Jane and Glenn McGrath’s very public experience with breast cancer.
When Jane was diagnosed with cancer for a second time, she had the support of a breast care nurse who both empowered and comforted her, and her family. This experience set the mission for the Foundation which has become an enduring commitment: to ensure every family experiencing breast cancer has the support of a Breast Care Nurse, no matter where they live.
McGrath Breast Care Nurses are registered nurses specially trained to manage the care of people with breast cancer from diagnosis and throughout treatment. They act as a trusted, consistent and knowledgeable support for families, offering medical expertise, clinical care and psychosocial support. The support of a McGrath Breast Care Nurse is available right across Australia – for free and without a doctor’s referral.
With your help, no-one misses out on care.
There are 204 McGrath Breast Care Nurses in communities across Australia who have supported more than 127,000 families since 2005. With a rising rate of diagnosis, the need for more McGrath Breast Care Nurses continues to grow. Their goal is to have 250 McGrath Breast Care Nurses by 2025.
They rely on the support they receive from individuals, communities, corporate partners and government to continue providing and growing their nurse support across the country and increase breast health understanding.
Support the McGrath Foundation at: www.mcgrathfoundation.com.au
Who Will Be Australia’s Pinkest Town?
The McGrath Foundation has thrown down the gauntlet to communities across Australia, encouraging them to get as pink as possible for ‘Pink Up Your Town,’ while supporting local families experiencing breast cancer.
‘Pink Up Your Town’ is the McGrath Foundation’s annual fundraising campaign where communities big and small turn their town pink to raise funds for McGrath Breast Care Nurses during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.
Now in its eighth year, more than 288 towns have taken part in ‘Pink Up Your Town’, helping raise over $2 million to fund specialist McGrath Breast Care Nurses.
This year ‘Pink Up Your Town’ is back bigger and better than ever with communities across the country turning pink in support of people with breast cancer. McGrath Foundation is encouraging everyone to get involved.
“At the McGrath Foundation, we are fortunate to see the power of community every day, however nothing compares to the joy and excitement of ‘Pink Up Your Town’,” said McGrath Foundation Ambassador & Director, Tracy Bevan.
“This year, communities are eager to get involved and turn it up a notch, showing just how pink they can go. We love watching long time committees, first-time towns, and everyone in-between turn pink in support of people experiencing breast cancer. It’s anyone’s guess who this year’s ‘pinkest’ town will be!”
Register to Pink Up Your Town at: www.pinkisthecolour.com.au/
pink is the color
Pink Stumps Day
Australian Olympian and new Sunrise host, Matt Shirvington and former Miss World Australia turned cricket TV presenter, Erin Holland have teamed up to officially launch the McGrath Foundation’s community fundraising initiative, Pink Stumps Day.
The sports-loving duo are rallying the nation to hit the cricket pitch in pink and host a long lunch, sausage sizzle or afternoon tea any time from now until all the way through to March 2024, with the official Pink Stumps Day taking place on 17 February 2024.
Now in its 15th year, Pink Stumps Day is the McGrath Foundation’s largest grass-roots fundraising campaign. Last year the campaign raised more than $850,000 with more than 350 schools, cricket clubs, businesses and community groups taking part. The Foundation hopes this year’s campaign will be even bigger, with a goal of raising $950,000.
Pink Stumps Day Ambassador, Matt Shirvington said, “Unfortunately most Australians know someone who has been touched by breast cancer, myself included. Hitting the pitch in pink for Pink Stumps Day is a great way for people to come together and have some fun while helping to ensure a future where nobody with breast cancer misses out on the expert care of a McGrath Breast Care Nurse.”
Pink Stumps Day Ambassador Erin Holland added, “It’s an honour to stand alongside Shirvo on behalf of the McGrath Foundation. For me, Pink Stumps Day is about more than just cricket, it’s about the whole community coming together to show that pink is the colour of care. From the sideline supporters to the legends making the cupcakes and cooking the snags, the coaches, parents and more – pink is an energy and an attitude and it all helps the McGrath Foundation continue its vital work funding McGrath Breast Care Nurses.”
Everyone who registers to play in pink can choose to receive a set of Pink Stumps for their match. People who register before the end of the Pink Test in January, will also go into the draw for their team to have McGrath Foundation Co-Founder & President Glenn McGrath attend their Pink Stumps Day event on 17 February 2024.
To register and find out more, visit www.pinkstumpsday.com.au