October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It provides an opportunity for women to learn more about the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and for cancer-related charities to raise vital funds that go towards both research and supporting people living with breast cancer.
This year has seen many cancer services disrupted due to the pandemic but it’s more important than ever to understand breast cancer symptoms and to seek advice from your GP if you have concerns.
The most common signs and symptoms of breast cancer are a lump or swelling in the breast, chest or armpit and changes to the skin such as puckering or dimpling. It’s also important to watch out for changes in the colour of the breast, changes to the appearance of the nipple and any unusual discharge from either nipple.
These changes do not necessarily mean that you have breast cancer but it’s really important to get advice from your GP. When breast cancer is detected early, the prognosis is much better than if it is picked up at a later stage.
Even if you don’t notice any changes in your breasts, it’s important to check your breasts on a monthly basis. Cancer charity Breast Cancer Now recommends the TLC approach – Touch Look Check. Touch your breasts to see if you can feel anything unusual, look for changes and check any changes with your GP.
Cancer Research UK has a wealth of information about breast cancer including clear explanations of what breast cancer is, the causes and treatments available.
Breast Cancer Now has also prepared some useful advice for women who have had breast cancer and are worried about coronavirus. It includes information for women currently going through treatment and advice about immunity.
October 23rd is ‘Wear It Pink’ day, a day to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research. You can download a fundraising pack here.