Be breast aware this October

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If you didn’t know already, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Breast Cancer Care research has shown that nearly 60,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK every year.

That’s the equivalent of one person every 10 minutes, with 1 in 8 women in the UK expected to develop breast cancer during their lives.

That is quite a number, so we want to make sure you know the facts so you can be breast healthy and aware of your own body.

First of all, let’s look at who, statistically, is most susceptible to breast cancer:

First of all, woman are most at risk factor of developing breast cancer.

Secondly whilst we hear of young cases in the media, actually the older you are, the more at risk you are of developing the disease. Over 80% of breast cancer cases are diagnosed in women over 50 and if men have the disease, they are most likely to be aged 60 over.

A family history can be another factor but this isn’t common and around just 5% of those diagnosed with breast cancer have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene.

Whilst these are the most at risk cases, the reality is that breast cancer can happen to anyone and anytime.

Bearing this in mind do you really know what breast cancer is?

Well, in the simplest of terms it happens when cells in the breast divide and grow in an abnormal way. This can happen for a number of reasons (including those above) or can be due to a combination of factors, some of which we can’t control.

The are several types of breast cancer, which can be diagnosed at different stages, and each case grows at different rates. As no two patients are the same, no two treatments plans are either.

From today, why not start to check your breasts regularly?

Once you start you will soon know what feels normal and therefore it will be easier to notice if something feels, or looks, different.

You can check them in the bath or shower, after you have exercised, when you get dressed or as you use moisturisers or body lotions.

Is it important to check all parts of your breast including your armpits and up to your collarbone and the changes you are really looing for include:

A change in size or shape of your breasts
A lump or thickening of tissue that feels different from the rest of the breast
Redness or a rash on the skin and/or around the nipple
Any changes in your breast skin texture such as puckering or dimpling
Look out for a liquid discharge from the nipple that occurs even when you don’t squeeze
Nipples becoming inverted or changing in shape or position
A swelling in your armpit or around your collarbone
A constant pain in your breast or armpit

Whilst most changes will be innocent, if you do find something you are worried about go and see your GP as soon as you can. The worst thing you can do is worry and suffer in silence. There’s a good chance of recovery if cancer is detected in the early stages and there is some incredible support out there if it’s the new you didn’t want to hear.

Chances are, it won’t be anything at all, but be breast aware and have peace of mind.

For more information visit the NHS website or go to Breast Cancer Care.

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