The quick check that could make a big difference - men and women in Redditch reminded to check their breasts - The Redditch Standard

The quick check that could make a big difference - men and women in Redditch reminded to check their breasts

Redditch Editorial 9th Oct, 2017   0

SELF checking is still the most powerful weapon in the battle against breast cancer, says a leading consultant surgeon.

Speaking during Breast Cancer Awareness Month which began on Sunday, consultant breast surgeon Steven Thrush also revealed the three main risk factors when it comes to developing breast cancer – and unfortunately there is very little Redditch women can do about any of them.

However, regular self-checks and an awareness of what to look for can help keep successful breast cancer treatments on the rise, said Mr Thrush, who works at the Spire South Bank Hospital in Bath Road in Worcester.

“The main risk is, unsurprisingly, being a woman,” he explained.

“Over 99 per cent of new cases of breast cancer are in women and there isn’t much you can do about that!

“The second is getting older – more than 80 per cent of breast cancers occur in women over the age of 50 and the third is significant family history – although this isn’t as common as some may think.”

But Mr Thrush stressed early action was still the biggest weapon in a woman’s armoury when it comes to beating the disease.

Figures from Cancer Research UK (CRUK) show around eight out of 10 women in England survive the disease for ten years or more, compared with just four out of 10 in the 1970s.

Figures for surviving five years or more are even higher with 87 per cent of women surviving beyond that date and the figures are improving.

“Without doubt early detection leads to better treatment results,” he said.

“That means we need to ensure every woman knows how to carry out effective self-check procedures and, just as importantly, 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 receive informed advice and, if necessary, be placed on the correct healthcare for treatment.”

Although finding a lump in your breast does not always signify breast cancer it is important women ‘get to know’ their breasts so they could spot changes.

“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 Thrush.

Men too can develop breast cancer and CRUK says about 60,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer every year while annually around 12,000 women die from the condition.

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

• Lump or thickening behind the nipple

• Rash affecting the nipple

• Blood-stained discharge from the nipple

• Swelling or a new lump in the armpit

• Clear nipple discharge coming from one side


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