Australian women will now be able to calculate their own risk of developing breast cancer with a new tool being launched by the National Breast Cancer Centre.
The Minister for Health and Ageing Tony Abbot will launch the Australian first at the National Breast Cancer Centre’s annual Pink Ribbon Breakfast in Sydney.
“There is new research emerging on almost a daily basis about potential risk factors for breast cancer, which can be very confusing for women,” said Dr Helen Zorbas, Director of the National Breast Cancer Center.
“The online risk calculator and the information that supports it give women the facts about risk factors for breast cancer.
Importantly, the calculator also provides useful information about lifestyle changes women may wish to make to reduce their risk”, said Dr Zorbas.
The interactive tool is designed for women aged 20 years and over. It asks a series of questions about a women’s age, family history of breast and ovarian cancer, genetic factors, height, weight, alcohol intake, menstrual and reproductive history, and previous beast conditions to calculate her risk of developing beast cancer compared to another woman of her age.
The calculator informs women if they are at ‘low or average risk’, ‘moderately increased risk’ or ‘potentially high risk’ of developing breast cancer. It also provides details of what has contributed to the risk.
“Unfortunately no one can guarantee that any one woman will never develop breast cancer, but it is important that women are aware of what can potentially put them at increased risk,” said Dr Zorbas.
The risk calculator can be accessed at the National Breast Cancer Centre’s website www.nbcc.org.au. The calculator is part of a National Breast Cancer Centre mini-site about breast cancer risk factors that rates the importance of different risk factors, dispels the myths and clarifies the different ways risk can be explained.
Breast cancer survivor Pam Bell has experienced first-hand the confusion that abounds about different risk factors for breast cancer in her volunteer work educating women about breast cancer.
“I would encorage all women to go online, get informed and tell your mothers, daughers, sisters and girlfriends about the new risk calculator too. Knowledge is power when it comes to breast cancer,” said Mrs Bell