October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and accounting for around 15% of new cases, it’s the most common type of cancer in the UK. Most of us know or love someone who has been touched by breast cancer, whether it’s a mum, sister, daughter, colleague or friend. And contrary to popular belief, men can get breast cancer, too. In fact, the lifetime chance of developing breast cancer for a man is 1 in 870. For women, this figure is 1 in 7. With these stark statistics in mind this Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we should all be aware of the warning signs. Keep reading to find out how you can spot your symptoms and raise breast cancer awareness in Exeter this month and beyond.
The good news is that breast cancer survival rates are generally high, and the earlier it’s caught, the better the chance of recovery. Breast self-examination and regular mammograms are the best ways to identify breast cancer in the early stages.
How do you check your breasts?
Know what’s normal
Everyone is different – what’s normal for your breasts might not be for someone else’s, and vice versa. For example, some women get tender or lumpy breasts before or during their period, and others do not. The best way to get to know what’s normal for you is to commit to checking your breasts regularly, establishing a ‘baseline’ for comparison.
Look at and feel your breasts
You can do this wherever you feel comfortable – whether it be in the bath or shower, standing in front of a mirror or somewhere else. Make sure to run a hand over each breast, right up to your collarbone and under each armpit.
Know what to look for
Of course, checking your breasts is only useful if you know what changes you should be aware of. According to the NHS, you need to be looking out for the following changes during your breast self-examination:
– A change in the size or shape of your breast
– Any changes to the look or feel of your skin (including dimpling, rashes or redness)
– A new lump, thickening, swelling or bumpy area
– Nipple discharge
– Changes in nipple position
– An eczema-like rash, crusting, redness or scaly skin around a nipple
– Discomfort or pain in one breast
This is only a whistle stop tour and, as a general rule, it’s always safest to see your local GP in Exeter if you notice any unusual changes in your breasts (even if they don’t quite fit the criteria above). For a more detailed guide to breast self-examination, head to the NHS website.
Can Breast Cancer be Prevented?
It’s estimated that around 23%-37% of breast cancer cases could be prevented through lifestyle changes. For example, studies have shown that being physically active can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by up to 20%.
What can I do to help during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Exeter?
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is the perfect time to get involved in Exeter fundraisers and events, raising awareness of and aiding research into the most common cancer in the UK. For unique and creative fundraising ideas, take a look at the Wear it Pink website!
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