Sunshine Coast University Private Hospital
Part of Ramsay Health Care

Dr Mara Clarson


Women urged to be breast aware for Pinktober

Oct 07, 2020

Sunshine Coast women are being urged to be breast aware this October as part of the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s Pinktober campaign.

Sunshine Coast University Private Hospital’s Breast, Endocrine and General Surgeon Dr Mara Clarson said it was a timely reminder for women of all ages to check up on their breast health.

“Anyone with a family history of breast cancer should definitely get screening from the age of 40 and, regardless or your age, if you notice any changes or lumps in your breasts you should get it checked out,” Dr Clarson said.

“I think it’s good to remind women that just because they’re young, perhaps in their 40s, that doesn’t mean breast cancer can’t happen to them.

“Breast cancer is increasing in numbers and we probably are seeing more young women being diagnosed. We don’t really know why, but they can do very well with treatment and come out the other side,” Dr Clarson said.

Sunshine Coast resident Amanda Alberts was only 46 years old when she was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer earlier this year. She is currently undergoing chemotherapy.

“This could happen to anyone at any age. I thought something like this wouldn’t happen to me because I’ve got no family history, I’ve always been active, I eat healthy and try do the right thing,” Mrs Alberts said.

“I discovered the lump in my breast when I was in the shower. Self-examination is one of those things we know we should do but we rarely make time to do it. But women need to make it a regular thing, even if it’s once a month, put it in your calendar and do it.

“Because the cancer was found early, my prognosis has been great. Early detection really is the key,” Mrs Alberts said.

Dr Clarson said while the main risk factors for breast cancer are family history and age, it was still important to lead a healthy lifestyle.

“Avoid smoking and alcohol, maintain a healthy weight and stay active - it gives people better responses to treatment, good mental health and better overall health,” she said.

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation 55 Australian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer every day and eight women will die.

Pinktober is designed to shine a spotlight on breast cancer awareness and to highlight the work that the National Breast Cancer Foundation does in funding world class research and improving outcomes for those diagnosed with the disease.