Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UK, it is estimated that one person is diagnosed every 10 minutes, and one in eight women in the UK will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.
With this month marking Breast Cancer Awareness Month there is no better time to think about breast health and to raise awareness of any significant changes noted in the breast area
that may sadly indicate something sinister.
Each year around 11,400 people die from breast cancer in the UK, and it is estimated that currently there are 691,000 Britons living with breast cancer, with this figure predicted to rise to 840,000 in the next few years.
However, there is good news, breast cancer survival rates are steadily improving and in fact they have doubled in the UK in the last 40 years with improved treatments and more screening.
Identifying signs and symptoms of breast cancer can lead to a faster diagnosis and this can be crucial in providing more effective treatment and, ultimately, saving lives. Sadly, a survey by charity, Breast Cancer Care found a third of women, 33% are not regularly checking themselves, in addition to this, a fifth, 20% say it is because they do not know how to check their breasts correctly for signs of cancer.
It is important to remember that breast cancer does not always mean the growth of a lump, there are other less well-known symptoms which include a nipple becoming inverted or a change in texture of the skin.
Signs to look out for include any change in size or appearance, including dimpling of the skin, swelling, redness, soreness, or the growth of lumps, and in addition, any nipple discharge should be investigated.
Breast cancer is a disease which men can get too although it is very rare with just 390 new cases in the UK each year, compared to nearly 55,000 new cases in women. Latest statistics reveal more than half (55%) of male breast cancer deaths in the UK are in men aged 75 or older. A survey by charity, Breast Cancer Care found nearly three-quarters, 73% of men do not check their breasts for signs and symptoms of breast cancer, even though the same number, around 73% know that men can get the disease too.
Advice & Awareness
To find out more information about breast cancer and how you can help to raise awareness of the condition, including fundraising this month, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, visit: www.breastcancercare.org.uk
If you notice any unusual changes in the breast region, armpit or around the collarbone you should arrange a visit to see your GP immediately, these changes may not be sinister, but if you do discover these changes to your body it is important to seek medical advice. Through thorough testing and observations, your GP can determine what course of action and what treatment, if any you will require.
By Jacob White