Breast cancer by the numbers

ONE-in-nine women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their life.

Many women will be lucky enough to fight the battle and win. Others will not be so lucky.

Last year in Ballarat alone, almost 11,000 women underwent a mammogram, the most reliable way of detecting breast cancer.

While 75 per cent of women with breast cancer are aged over 50, this disease really does not discriminate when it comes to age, religion or socio-economic background.

According to statistics, women aged between 50 and 74 are most at risk of suffering from breast cancer and all women between those ages should have a breast screen every two years.

Breast screening is the most effective way of detecting breast cancer ... less than the size of a grain of rice.

Regular mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early before any symptoms are noticed and when treatment is likely to be most successful.

There is a link between family history and breast cancer for some women. 

However, most women who are diagnosed do not have a family history of the disease. In fact, recent analysis of breast screen data over the 20 years of the program revealed that 72 per cent of women diagnosed through BreastScreen Victoria had no family history.

According to BreastScreen Victoria, breast health awareness is important for all women, and women should know what is "normal" for them. 

Being aware of the normal look and feel of your own breasts can help you to detect anything unusual that may need to be checked by a doctor.

If you notice an unusual change in your breasts such as a lump, pain or discharge from the nipple, it is important that you visit your doctor as soon as possible.

In 2010, for every 166 women screened in the BreastScreen Victoria program, one cancer was found.

Women diagnosed with breast cancer are surviving significantly longer than ever before. 

The five-year survival rate from breast cancer has increased from 72 per cent (1982-1987) to 89 per cent (2006-2010).

To book a mammogram with BreastScreen Victoria, telephone 13 20 50.