Are you breast cancer aware?

Breast cancer awareness month

Creator of Sharnee’s Bands – Sharnee McCoy and her family

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and as someone who has personally battled this cruel and ugly disease, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to urge other women to be breast aware and shine a light on a handy new initiative developed by an inspiring local lady.

Breast cancer remains the most common cancer among Australian women with a staggering 17,586 expected to be diagnosed this year alone.

As you look around at your mother, sisters, daughters and group of girlfriends the frightening statistic is 1 in 8 of you will be diagnosed with breast cancer by the time you are 85.

A woman’s risk of breast cancer increases with age, with the majority of women diagnosed between 50-69.

However, breast cancer also occurs in younger women and it is estimated that in 2017, 841 women between the ages of 20 and 39 will be diagnosed.

The good news – early detection and improved screening have resulted in very high survival rates.

Finding breast cancer early provides the best chance of surviving the disease so ALL women should be breast aware, know what is normal for them and be regularly checking and feeling their breasts for any changes.

Changes to look for include:

● a new lump or lumpiness in your breast or underarm
● a change in the size or shape of your breast
● a change to the nipple, such as crusting, ulcer, redness or inversion
● a nipple discharge that occurs without squeezing
● a change in the skin of your breast such as redness or dimpling
● an unusual pain that doesn’t go away.
Most changes aren’t due to breast cancer but it’s important to see your doctor without delay if you notice any of these changes.

Local mother to five girls Sharnee McCoy, knows all too well the importance of being breast aware.

After feeling a suspicious lump in her right breast as she simply rolled over in bed one night, she thankfully took immediate action and in April this year was given the heart breaking news that she did in fact have an aggressive stage 3 breast cancer.

But her story, to selflessly turn her own personal battle into something to ease the burden on others, is truly inspiring.

Like many women who undergo breast surgery to remove cancer, Sharnee also had all the lymph nodes removed from under her right arm, putting her at risk of developing lymphedema. Unable to use her right arm for any treatment, blood tests or blood pressure monitoring she began to look for a product to easily advise healthcare professionals but to no avail. This ignited a fire in the courageous young mothers belly….

“After I spoke to Bianca Fleming, Echuca Regional Health McGrath Breast Care Nurse, I realised there was a broader need for this, so I set off to design and produce a pink arm band that could be accessible to other women in the same situation to help reduce the risk of lymphedema,” says Sharnee.

With the generous support of the Little Blue Towels Project in Echuca, Sharnee’s Bands were born and are now available for free to anyone across Victoria and parts of NSW who has had lymph nodes removed as a result of breast cancer.

“I didn’t do this for the recognition but I am incredibly proud to show my girls that we created something really positive out of a negative situation,” Sharnee says.

To get your free pink arm band contact your local Breast Care Nurse or Oncology department today.

Breast cancer doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t respect age, gender, race, ethnicity, wealth, status or a healthy lifestyle. So don’t think because you are young or don’t have a family history that you are safe. The harsh reality is that you or someone you know or love will experience breast cancer during their lifetime.

So when was the last time you checked your boobies?

Women between the ages of 50-74 are entitled to two free mammograms a year with BreastScreen Victoria so book yours in today on 132 050.

Younger women can download the free Curve Lurve App from the McGrath Foundation to learn how to be more proactive in their breast health.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from Breast Cancer, support from the McGrath Breast Care Nurse is free and anyone can access the service on 03 5485 5234.

Learn to love those boobies ladies because they could save your life.


#spreadingthegoodstuff #breastcareawarenessmonth #bebreastaware #sharneesbands #mcgrathbreastcarenurse