Breast cancer awareness
Although it's normally older women who get breast cancer, checking regularly will give you the chance to spot a lump early.
Breast cancer facts
- It is caused when the cells that make up the breast tissue fail to die; instead they endlessly divide and eventually grow into tumours.
- If detected early on, then there is a good chance the cancer can be successfully treated.
- One woman in nine in the UK will develop breast cancer during her lifetime.
- Each year 38,000 women are newly diagnosed with breast cancer while, on average, 13,100 women die from breast cancer each year.
- Nine out of 10 lumps turn out to be non-cancerous.
- 80 per cent of all breast cancers occur in post-menopausal women. The risk does increase with age and it is very rare for anyone under 25 to be diagnosed with breast cancer.
How to be breast aware. (Produced by Videojug.com)
But I'm not menopausal; I've only just left puberty. Do I need to worry?
There may be little risk of you getting breast cancer in your twenties orbefore, yet being breast aware by carrying out monthly checks from the end of puberty onwards is important. Self-examination is a skill and most lumps are found by this method. By starting early and giving yourself regular checks you will be more likely to pick up a lump when it is smaller, and early diagnosis gives you a better chance of successful treatment.
Recognising breast cancer
Warning signs include:
- A change in the shape or size of the nipple or breast, one breast may become noticeably larger or lower.
- Any changes to the position or colouring of the nipple.
- Discharge from one or both nipples.
- A rash around the nipple.
- Dimpling, denting, scaling or discolouration of the skin.
- A lump or swelling in the breast, armpit or arm.
- A pain in the breast or armpit that is new for you.
- A distinct lump, like a pea, or thickening in the breast that feels different from the rest of the breast.
Check for it
As the breast tissue can vary at different times of the month, it is important to check your breasts at the same time. The best time to do your check is one week after the end of your period.
- Stand in front of the mirror with your hands at your sides and check your breasts to see if they look any different. Repeat with your hands on your hips, pressing the shoulders and armpits forward.
- Then clasp your hands behind your head and turn from side to side to check that both nipples move up and down at the same time.
- While in the bath or shower, raise your left arm and feel your left breast with the flat of your right hand. Starting from the outer top, press firmly enough to feel the tissue underneath and move in a circular motion. When you have completed a circle, move inwards slightly and repeat circling. Continue this until you have checked the entire breast including the nipple. Also check the area above the breast, especially the armpit. Repeat on the other side.
- Lie with a pillow under your left shoulder and repeat the check. Don't freak out if you do find anything, just get it checked out with a doctor. There's absolutely no need to be embarrassed or ashamed.They've seen it all before. It's their job.
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