Health campaign ad: ‘Wear pink to make your boobs wink’ for Breast Cancer Awareness Month
One in seven women in the UK will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, and the sooner you get your breasts checked for any strange signs or symptoms, the better your chances of surviving this life-altering disease.
Many breast issues are benign, such as cysts or mastitis, but by being aware of the risks and symptoms of breast cancer, you could help stop it in its tracks.
What is breast cancer?
Caused by a combination of genetics, lifestyle, and environment, 80 per cent of cases occur in women over 50, but you can also be much younger. Men also suffer from it, albeit rarely, and tend to be over 60.
There are many types of breast cancer, ranging from invasive to non-invasive, special-type to no special-type (NST), and hormone-specific, for example HER2-positive.
How do you get diagnosed?
Breast cancer is diagnosed with a mammogram, biopsies, and breast ultrasound, with the ultrasound usually used for those under 35 as the breast tissue is denser than a mammogram can pick up.
If your doctor suspects it may have spread to other parts of your body, like your bones, further tests such as CT scans may be needed.
How can it be treated?
Breast cancer treatment involves surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and other types of therapy.
- Surgery will depend on the type of breast cancer, and involves either breast-conserving surgery, or mastectomy where the whole of the breast and tissue is removed
- Radiotherapy uses high-strength x-rays to destroy cancer cells after surgery, and is given using special machines
- Chemotherapy involves strong anti-cancer drugs that stop the cells growing, and this can affect cells throughout the body
- Other types of therapy are hormone therapy, targeted therapy, and bisphosphonates, all of which may have their own side-effects
The kind of therapy given depends on the type and stage of cancer, and usually more than one method is used over the course of treatment.
How can I be aware of the symptoms?
There are a large range of breast cancer signs and symptoms, and keeping an eye on your boobs on a monthly or bi-monthly basis can help you see what’s normal and what’s not for you.
Put a note in your phone to do a breast examination every few weeks and you’ll always be alert to any changes in your boobs. It only takes a minute!
- Pain usually pain in the breast is not something to be worried about, but if it is there all or most of the time, you might need to get checked out
- A lump may appear in the breast, armpit, or collarbone area, and you might be able to feel it but not necessarily see it
- Puckering or dimpling your breast skin should be smooth and may have stretchmarks and visible veins, but if it starts to look like orange peel, call your GP
- Change in colour if your breast looks angry and inflamed, this may be a symptom of breast cancer
- Nipple changes your nipple may become visibly inverted and appear to shrink inwards
- Rashes, crusting or discharge from one or both breasts and nipples
These are most of the common signs, but if you spot any unusual changes in your boobs, it’s best to get checked out as soon as you can.
How can I raise awareness of breast cancer?
You can get in touch with them to volunteer, donate cash, and spread the word about breast cancer awareness. You never know, you might encourage someone to cop a feel of their boobs when they most need it.
Wear pink to make your boobs wink this October. They could be glad you did.