Breast awareness and self check - a powerful weapon in the battle against breast cancer

02 October 2017

Mr Ansar Farooq, a Consultant Breast Surgeon at Spire Cheshire Hospital explains;  

“The main risk is, unsurprisingly, being a woman. Over 99% of new cases of breast cancer are in women and there isn’t much you can do about that!”

“The second biggest risk is getting older - more than 80% of breast cancers occur in women over the age of 50.”

“The third risk factor is significant family history – although this isn’t as common as some may think, with only around 5% of people diagnosed with breast cancer having an inherited fault in one of the known breast cancer genes BRCA1, BRCA2 or TP53.”

Breast cancer is the commonest cancer in the UK with one in eight women diagnosed with breast cancer. Figures from Cancer Research UK show that around 8 out of 10 women in England survive their disease for ten years or more, compared with four out of ten back in the 1970s. Figures for surviving for five years or more are even higher at almost nine out of ten – 87%.

However, regular self-checks and breast awareness of what to look out for can help diagnose the disease at an early stage and keep the number of breast cancers treated successfully on the rise.

Mr. Farooq said that: “Getting to know what your breasts look and feel like will help you know what is normal for you and enabling you to be more confident in noticing a change that might be a symptom of early breast cancer and seeking medical advice.”

“Without a doubt early detection leads to better treatment results. That means we need to ensure that every woman knows how to carry out effective self-examination and what to do if she thinks something is wrong.”

“It is important to get an early appointment with a GP to discuss the matter. The patient will then be assessed and receive advice and, if necessary, be referred to a specialist for further assessment” said Mr Farooq.

It’s important to note finding a lump in your breast does not always signify breast cancer. Many women will experience lumpy breasts just before their period; often this disappears after the period. However, it is important to keep checking and if the lump doesn’t go away then get it checked out by your GP,” said Mr Farooq.

Possible symptoms that can be found by self-examination:

 Painless lumps in the breast

  • Changes in the size or shape of a breast
  • Dimpling to the skin of the breast
  • Thickened breast tissue
  • Nipple inversion
  • Rash affecting the nipple
  • Blood-stained / clear discharge from the nipple
  • Swelling or a new lump in the armpit

To learn more about our breast services please click here or call 01925 215 087 to make an appointment to see one of our consultant breast surgeons.

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