It’s Breast Cancer Awareness month, what can you do? Have you considered this?
I’m sure you’ve spotted pink things popping up more and hopefully you’ll have seen some shared awareness messages on social media.
I am sure most of you reading this will know someone who has had breast cancer or is currently in treatment for it. And if you can’t think of anyone, then you know me.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, with around 55,000 women and 400 men diagnosed with breast cancer every year.
Every 10 minutes in the UK, someone hears the words “you have breast cancer”. That’s a lot of someones.
Breast cancer awareness month exists to raise funds for breast cancer research and to put it at the forefront of people’s minds.
It’s a reminder that this one is important, and it’s on you to check yourself. If you do find anything you’re unsure about, that feels or looks different, or bothers you at all, go and get it checked.
This is a great guide to signs and symptoms and what to check for. Use it today.
I have shared parts of my story here with you, and it’s not always easy to share. But I want to keep it in people’s minds, I want to do what I can to get more and more of you checking yourselves.
Maybe you’ve not done it for a while, maybe you’re not sure how to or maybe you have found something unusual and are scared to tell someone.
Please do not think it won’t happen to you, and that it can’t be cancer, because it can.
Younger people do get it, people without a family history of women’s cancers do get it, people who are fit and well can have this.
The risks do increase with age, so get those mammograms when you’re called, don’t miss a single one. I’ve seen many stories from women who only had this picked up from a routine mammogram screening.
My GP referral was a ‘just in case’ as they felt it was probably a cyst. My breast consultant at the breast clinic reassured me it didn’t look like anything to worry about. And then my biopsy results told a different story. You need to check it out, you can’t possibly know yourself.
I don’t want to scare you, as more often than not, it really is just a cyst! A referral to a breast clinic does not mean you have cancer, it means they want to rule it out.
At the clinic you’ll likely be examined by a consultant, have an ultrasound and a mammogram. You may then also need a biopsy. 4 out of 5 biopsies are not cancerous.
The chances are, if this is you, you’ll be fine. But you have to know, you have to check to be sure. Please don’t leave it and hope it will go away by itself, cancer isn’t in the habit of doing that.
Breast cancer is treatable, but of course as with all cancers, the earlier you can do something about it, the better the outcome is likely to be.
Please take this post as your sign to act.
To return to the original question, it’s Breast Cancer Awareness month, what can you do?
You can chat to your friends about checking themselves. Normalise this.
You can share this message, you can tell my story.
You can share any messages you spot about #breastcancerawarenessmonth.
You can wear pink on the 20th October.
You can check out the latest campaigns and get involved.
You can donate to the many fundraisers you’ll see.
And most importantly, you can check your breasts and make it a habit to do so regularly going forward. Set yourself a reminder to do this. If this post gets one more of you to do that, then I’ll be very happy.