October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. That statement may trigger emotions, or perhaps it may not feel relevant to you, but I felt it was important to have my say.
There are a number of breast cancer charities, aiming to increase the awareness of the illness, educating people on what kind of symptoms to look out for, and raising money to provide support and research. According to Breast Cancer Care, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the UK. According to CoppaFeel, 1 in 8 women will experience breast cancer in their lifetime.
Unfortunately, breast cancer affects a staggering number of people each year, but many people aren’t sure what to look for.
Check yourself regularly for…
- Changes in skin texture
- Swelling in your armpit or around the collarbone
- Lumps and thickened tissue
- Constant pain in the breast or armpit
- Nipple discharge
- Change in shape or size
- Rash on our around the nipple
Women over the age of 50 (who are registered with a GP) will receive free checks or ‘mammograms’ in the UK, through the NHS. They will be automatically invited every 3 years. They’re looking to lower the age to 47, however. Additionally, if you notice a change in your breasts (at any age), it is important to inform your GP as soon as possible. Try not to panic if you do discover any lumps or bumps – your breasts can change with hormone fluctuations, and most are benign and nothing to worry about. But it’s always best to get a professional’s opinion, just in case. The GP will usually ask a few questions and feel the lump before deciding whether to refer you to your local breast clinic for scans.
Just over a year ago, I noticed a lump. Only small, but I booked an appointment with the doctor just to make sure. I was reassured that it was unlikely to be anything nasty, but was referred to my local clinic for scans and a biopsy. Cutting a long story short, I had my lump removed back in January. It was the first time I had experienced general anaesthetic and if I’m honest, I was absolutely terrified. (FYI, mine was benign.) From the very first visit to my GP, to the scans at the clinic, to the operation itself, every single member of staff I encountered was wonderful. I felt looked after, respected and in safe hands.
To be honest, I kept very quiet about the whole procedure – in fact, to this day not many of my friends know. I’m writing this now to encourage you to regularly check your breasts, get any changes checked by your doctor, and to not feel embarrassed – you certainly aren’t alone.
Now we know what to look for, it’s also important to support breast cancer charities. There are many about, which include…
You can raise money in a number of ways: from donating directly online, hosting a cake sale, to running a marathon! You can even shop…
Branch on the Park – The Cuddle collection
Hair tie brand, Popband London, have launched three sets of pink hair ties (that are designed to not leave any kinks and feel comfortable when worn around the wrist,) to support breast cancer awareness this year. They are donating 80p from the sale of each pack to the Pink Ribbon Foundation.
Jewellery brand Som’or? is donating 50% of proceeds to The Pink Ribbon Foundation of every personalised charm bracelet sold with pink love strings.
Sally Lane has launched a limited edition rose gold ring in support of breast cancer awareness month. They are donating 30% of every sale to the charity ‘Against Breast Cancer’.
12% of the sales of each set goes towards funding the charity and supporting women with the visible side effects of cancer.