Get set for Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October. This annual campaign has been celebrated around the world every October since 1985. The aim of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is to raise funds and awareness about what is the most common form of cancer in the UK. A number of events will be taking place up and down the country to spread life-saving information and highlight the importance of breast cancer research and education.
There are more than 50,000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed and 12,000 fatalities every year. This life-threatening condition starts in the cells of the breast tissue, usually developing into a tumour in the lining of the milk ducts.
Cancerous cells in the breast are caused by genetic abnormalities. In 5-10% of cases this abnormality is hereditary. However, in the vast majority of instances it is triggered by other factors such as the natural aging progress or exposure to synthetic chemicals. Many of the toxic ingredients found in everyday products such as cleaners and cosmetics have been found to cause disruptions to hormones which can make us more vulnerable to developing breast cancer.
Signs and Symptoms – What Should You Do?
Early detection is the most important factor in treating breast cancer. It is essential that women regularly check themselves for any of the recognised symptoms. These include a lump in the breast or underarm, dimpling of the skin, change in size or shape of either breast, a rash around the nipple or discharge from the nipple.
If you find any of these indicators in your body, you must arrange to see your GP as soon as possible. The doctor will examine you and then go on to refer you to a specialist breast cancer clinic if there is any cause for concern.
Catch it Early
Early detection and diagnosis is key when it comes to beating breast cancer. When the disease is caught in its early stages, there is a much higher chance of recovery. This is why breast screening is offered to women most at risk of developing breast cancer – those between the ages of 50 and 70. Breast screening is carried out using an X-ray test known as a mammogram to spot cancerous cells before they have accumulated enough to be seen or felt.
If you live in Berkshire then you have a number of options when it comes to breast screening. The UK Breast Screening Service operating from the Royal Berkshire Hospital offers screening for 50-70 year old women once every three years. This service was launched in June 2015 and has, so far, screened around 85,000 women.
Women over the age of 70 are also able to arrange breast cancer screening at the East Berkshire Breast Diagnostic Centre in Windsor. To pay a visit to this centre, you must arrange an appointment through your GP.
If you’re a member of the at-risk age group for breast cancer then make the most of Breast cancer Awareness Month by getting yourself screened this October. If not, there are plenty of ways that you can get involved by helping to spread vital information and raise funds. As you’re probably already aware, the colour chosen to represent breast cancer awareness is pink. That’s why, this October, we are all being encouraged to ‘think pink’ and organise fun, charitable events with this rosy shade as the theme. This doesn’t have to be anything major. If you fancy catching up with your friends, organise a pink party at your home, ask everyone to wear something pink and donate as much money as they can. You could even remind your friends that this will be a great excuse to share a glass or two of rosé wine. If you do organise your very own pink party, don’t forget to upload your photo to social media with the hashtag #WearItPink.
Another great way to show your support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month is to spread the word around your workplace. The Wear it Pink website has an array of resources and materials, like a leaflet that you can show your boss to persuade them to arrange a pink day in the office to raise funds.