Breast cancer awareness month; OCTOBER
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. I will be talking briefly about breast cancer and what you can do to raise awareness.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK. 15% of all newly diagnosed cancers in the UK are breast cancer. It is estimated that around 5,000 people will be diagnosed with breast cancer this October.
More people than ever are surviving, but the reality is that someone is diagnosed every 10 minutes. This life-threatening disease will abruptly become part of their story and that of their friends and families. That’s why there has never been a greater need for our life changing support today and tomorrow.
What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer starts when cells in the breast begin to grow out of control. These cells usually form a tumor that can often be seen on an x-ray or felt as a lump. The tumor is malignant (cancer) if the cells can grow into (invade) surrounding tissues or spread (metastasize) to distant areas of the body.
Common symptoms of breast cancer
The most common symptom of breast cancer is a new lump or mass. A painless, hard mass that has irregular edges is more likely to be cancer, but breast cancers can be tender, soft, or rounded. They can even be painful. For this reason, it is important to have any new breast mass, lump, or breast change checked by a health care professional experienced in diagnosing breast diseases.
Other possible symptoms of breast cancer include:
- Swelling of all or part of a breast (even if no distinct lump is felt)
- Skin irritation or dimpling (sometimes looking like an orange peel)
- Breast or nipple pain
- Nipple retraction (turning inward)
- Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
- Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
There are certain gene types that can pre-dispose you to breast cancer – it is best to speak to your doctor about this. It has been proven that maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly and reducing the intake of saturated fats and alcohol can have a beneficial effect in reducing your chances of developing breast cancer. It is also a good idea to check your breasts regularly for any lumps or irregularities.
Wear it pink – visit wearitpink.org to learn more about how you can raise money by wearing pink on Friday 20October.
Raising awareness locally – visit www.breastcancercare.org.uk to learn more about how you can participate in local events to fundraise, raise awareness or get support.
Charity runs, ribbonwalks, bike rides and adventures – you can participate by visiting www.breastcancercare.org.uk
Social media – the most influential platform, what a better way to raise awareness and share your stories!
Get creative! – Cupcake sales, climbing the Himalayas, work pajama day? Get creative, have fun and raise awareness all at the same time!