Increasing breast awareness

As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, local health commissioners are encouraging women to familiarise themselves with the symptoms of breast cancer and to be aware of how to check themselves for these symptoms.

Dr Debbie Harvey, clinical lead for cancer and end of life at NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK, with about one in eight women being diagnosed with it during their lifetime.

“It’s really important to know the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and to be breast aware. Being breast aware means getting to know how your breasts normally look and feel. This may change at different times of the month. This then increases the chances of you noticing any unusual changes which might be a sign of breast cancer”

Being breast aware means that you:

  • know what is normal for you
  • look at and feel your breasts
  • know which changes to look for
  • see your doctor about any unusual changes.

Symptoms which should then be checked out with your GP can include any of the following:

  • a new lump or area of thickened tissue
  • a change in the size, shape or feel of your breast
  • swelling in either of your armpits
  • a change in the position of your nipple e.g. turning inwards
  • skin changes in the breast such as puckering, dimpling, a rash or redness of the skin
  • unusual discharge from your nipples especially if you are not pregnant or breast feeding
  • constant pain in your breast or armpit.

Dr Graeme Allan, clinical lead for cancer at NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said:

“The vast majority of women who see their GP with unusual breast symptoms do not have cancer. For those who do, early diagnosis and treatment have really good outcomes. I would urge women to see their GP if they are at all concerned.”

Watch Breast Cancer Now’s video for a guide to for how to check your breasts.

For more information on breast cancer, visit the NHS website and CRUK

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