If you have found a lump in your breast or are concerned
about breast changes, you should speak to your doctor about
the triple test. The triple
test consists of clinical examination of your breast and a
discussion of your history, mammogram and/or ultrasound and
a biopsy. Note that many women may not need all these tests.
Experts no longer recommend breast self examination each
month. Normally women will find a suspicious lump themselves
in the shower or bath. Research in Russia and China where
Breast Self Examination is not routinely practiced, indicates
that this does not increase survival or significantly improve
If breast cancer is detected early, while still localised
in the breast, chances of survival are better than if it were
spread to distant parts of the body.
has set a goal of achieving a 30% reduction in breast cancer
deaths based on a participation rate of 70% in mammographic
screening for women aged 50-69.-
- Ask about the triple
test if you are not sure that your concerns are being
- Don't panic, 9 out of 10 lumps
are benign or have a cause other than cancer (e.g. cysts)
- Early detection improves survival,
if not sure follow up with your doctor or specialist. Persist
if you have unexplained symptoms
- GPs see an average of one confirmed
breast cancer diagnosis a year. If you are not comfortable
with the answers your GP gives, or their knowledge, seek
Why the triple test?
The reason for the triple test is:
- 99.5% of cancers will be found by one or more of the three
tests in the triple test
- Mammograms do not always show a lump which is felt by
- Breast examination may not be able to feel a lump found
on a mammogram
- A biopsy will confirm or eliminate a breast cancer diagnosis
- The National Breast Cancer Centre has an excellent publication
on breast changes and diagnosis of breast cancer- click
here to order it.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare is the clearing
house for all cancer statistics in Australia. The collection
of data is drawn from the state cancer registries and analysis
of the data cannot be undertaken until all states have submitted
to view statistics on breast cancer.
From the menu on the left of the screen select 'view survival
data' to download AIHW Publication 'Breast Cancer Survival
in Australian Women' for the period 1982-1994 which draws
on information from state cancer registries.