Breast Health

1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Early detection is known to save lives. Approximately 15,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013; over 800 of these women were under 40 years old.

The incidence of breast cancer in Australia is increasing.

The National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre recommends women care for their breasts by:

  • becoming breast aware – being 'breast aware' means becoming familiar with the normal look and feel of your breasts and reporting any unusual breast changes to your doctor as soon as possible. Early detection can boost your chances of surviving breast cancer. Many women have no signs or symptoms. However, some women do have symptoms and there are things you can look out for.

  • having regular mammograms – getting older is the biggest risk for developing breast cancer. Most women with breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease.
    • If you are aged 50–69, the National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre recommends that you have a screening mammogram every two years through BreastScreen Australia. This is a free service.
    • Women aged 40–49 or 70 and over are also eligible for free screening mammograms.
    • Screening mammograms are not recommended for women aged under 40.

  • talking to their doctor or nurse - if you're not having regular mammograms, you might benefit from regular breast examinations by your doctor or nurse, especially if you're not sure what normal is for you.

Organisations that specialise in this area of reproductive and/or sexual health

Where to get more information, support or advice

  • Your local doctor (GP)
  • Contact Family Planning Victoria's clinics


This website provides general information only. The suitability of such general information varies from person to person, depending on individual circumstances. You should seek specific medical or legal advice for your individual circumstances.

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The copyright for material on this website is owned by Sexual Health Victoria (or, in some cases, by third parties) and is subject to the Copyright Act 1968. We permit you to reproduce or communicate our copyright material if you are a not-for-profit educational organisation, for the purpose of providing the information to your students provided that you include any disclaimers associated with that material. Any other reproduction or communication of our material requires our prior consent, via our consent form which you can complete and submit.

Last updated: 5 June 2016

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