Breast Cancer Awareness

Being breast aware simply means knowing what your breasts look and feel like normally, being on the lookout for any unusual changes and getting them checked out by your doctor. The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the better the chance of successful treatment. So it's important to check your breasts regularly and see your GP if you notice a change.

 

Most benign breast lumps are:

 

Areas of normal lumpiness that is more obvious just before a period

Cysts – sacs of fluid in the breast tissue, which are quite common

Fibroadenoma – a collection of fibrous glandular tissue (these are common in younger women, for example under 30)

 

Breast changes to look out for:

 

  • A lump or thickening in an area of the breast

  • A change in the size or shape of a breast

  • Dimpling of the skin

  • A change in the shape of your nipple, particularly if it turns in, sinks into the breast, or has an irregular shape

  • A blood stained discharge from the nipple

  • A rash on a nipple or surrounding area

  • A swelling or lump in your armpit

 

These signs don't necessarily mean cancer. Inverted nipples, blood stained nipple discharge or a rash can all be due to other medical conditions. But if you have any changes to what is normal for you, you should see your GP. It is most likely to be a benign condition that can easily be treated. Your GP can refer you to a breast clinic where the staff can reassure you and give any necessary treatment.  Seeing your doctor early also means that if it does turn out to be cancer, you give yourself the best chance of successful treatment.

If you find a breast lump
 

See your doctor straight away. If you notice anything unusual about your breast, have it examined. Even though most breast lumps are benign, they need to be checked to rule out cancer. Our page about breast awareness shows how to learn what is normal for you.  Your doctor will examine you and if necessary will send you to a specialist breast clinic for further checks. At the clinic, they will be able to do tests such as a mammogram or ultrasound to see if the lump is a fluid filled cyst or a solid lump.

 

If it is a cyst, the doctor or nurse may get rid of it by draining the fluid out through a fine needle. If it is a solid lump, they will take a tissue sample (core biopsy) to test for cancer cells.  Some women prefer to have benign lumps removed to stop them from worrying that it may be a cancer. They may be concerned that they will confuse the benign lumps with any other lumps they may get in the future. But if you and your doctor are confident that the lump is benign, you don't have to have it removed if you don't want to.  If your lump is a cancer, the earlier you have breast cancer treatment, the better your chance of cure.

 
Breast pain

Breast pain is very common and is not usually due to cancer. Many healthy women find that their breasts feel lumpy and tender before a period. And some benign breast lumps are painful. Many women get pain in their breasts for a while, which goes after a time. There may be no obvious reason for the pain, even with lots of tests.  Most breast pain is not caused by cancer, but some breast cancers do cause pain. So if you are worried see your GP, particularly if your breast is also inflamed.  

 

References - Cancer Research UK

It’s as simple as TLC...
  • TOUCH your breasts. Can you feel anything unusual?

  • LOOK for changes. Is there any change in shape or texture?

  • CHECK anything unusual with your doctor.

 

No one knows your body better than you and everyone will have their own way of touching and looking for changes – there’s no special technique and you don’t need any training.

 

It’s good to get into the habit of doing this regularly – maybe when you’re in the bath or shower, or while getting dressed in the morning. You might prefer to do it while standing up or lying down. Either way, the important thing is to be familiar with how your breasts look and feel normally, so you notice anything unusual – and remember to check the whole breast area, including your upper chest and armpits.

 

References -  Breast Cancer Now

Research shows That 56% of BME women do not check Their breasts for changes Because They are not sure what to look for and 45% of BME women Who are of screening age (currently 50-70) have never attended a breast screening appointment.

 

Beyond Cancer wants two changeover These statistics:

 

  • 1 in 8 women Developers breast cancer

  • Over 47,700 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year

  • 250 women will die of breast cancer this week

  • But can get breast cancer too - Approximately 300 cases are diagnosed each year

  • Breast cancer incidence rates have Increased by more than 50% over the last 25 years

  • 8 in 10 Breast Cancer are diagnosed in women aged 50 and over

  • Over 4,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in Yorkshire everyyear

 

References - Cancer Research UK

 

Further information can be found at the following links:

 

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