Get hands on for breast cancer awareness month

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Do you know what breast cancer feels like?

HCF, leading not-for-profit health fund protecting Australians since 1932, in partnership with the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) is inviting residents of Melbourne to get “Hands On” for Breast Cancer Awareness Month to learn what the possible signs of breast cancer feel like to help improve awareness and education.

In 2016, it is estimated that over 16,000 Australians will be diagnosed with breast cancer.Despite the importance of early detection, the understanding of the early signs of breast cancer is surprisingly low, preventing people from doing breast self-exams properly.

Research conducted by HCF reveals that only one in four women are checking their breasts monthly and 44% have never visited the doctor for a breast check. While 92% of women understand the importance of regular breast checks, almost 50% of women don’t know what to look (44%) or feel (42%) for, and the majority are using self-taught examination methods.ii

To help overcome this knowledge gap, from the 23rd until the 26th of October, 2016, the HCF Melbourne branch, located in Westfield Doncaster will be home to the Hands On learning station featuring a set of replica breasts, ranging from healthy to those with signs of breast cancer that should be flagged with your doctor. By touching and feeling the various breasts, participants will have a hands on lesson on some of the things to feel for when conducting self-checks in between regular doctor check-ups.

HCF Melbourne Branch Manager, Alex Matthews, said, “Breast cancer can happen to anyone at any time. It affects mothers, daughters, sisters and wives. It can also affect men.”

“Through the Hands On Experience, you have the opportunity to find out and learn the differences on how your breasts should feel, so you can be informed and aware while you do your checks.”

Dr. Sarah Hosking, CEO of NBCF, explains, “We know that one-in-eight Australian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimeiii and eight women will die each dayiv, which makes being breast aware so vital.”

“We save lives through early detection. Research into early detection has resulted in a national breast screening program, which has helped Australians receive the right treatment at the right time, significantly improving survival rates,” Dr. Hosking continued.

The HCF Hands On Experience is part of an ongoing partnership between HCF and NBCF to support breast cancer research. While early detection is vital, both HCF and NBCF believe research is key to achieving the goal of zero deaths from breast cancer by 2030. Better understanding of how tumors originate, grow and spread results in better ways to prevent and treat breast cancer.

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