Liz Hurley says two friends found breast cancer after her campaign
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Cancer Research UK says around 55,200 people are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the UK, that is around 150 people a day. Fortunately, there is a good chance of recovery if it’s detected at an early stage. Breast cancer starts in the breast tissue, most commonly in the cells that line the milk ducts of the breast.
The charity states: “If you notice any possible cancer symptoms or any changes that are unusual for you, contact your doctor because early cancer diagnosis saves lives.”
It is also important to check your breasts, and the NHS says there’s no right or wrong way to check your breasts “but it’s important to know how your breasts usually look and feel”.
The NHS says: “Look at your breasts and feel each breast and armpit, and up to your collarbone. You may find it easiest to do this in the shower or bath, by running a soapy hand over each breast and up under each armpit.”
It adds: “You can also look at your breasts in the mirror. Look with your arms by your side and also with them raised.”
The first noticeable symptom is usually a lump or area of thickened breast tissue, though there are a number of perhaps lesser known signs which may occur.
Cancer Research suggests people be aware of a number of signs, which include the following:
A new lump or thickening in your breast or armpit
A change in size, shape or feel of your breast
Fluid leaking from the nipple in a person who isn’t pregnant or breastfeeding
Some people also experience skin changes, which “include puckering, dimpling, a rash, or redness of the skin of the breast. Others have a rash or redness of the nipple and the surrounding skin” and the skin might look like orange peel or the texture might feel different, it explains.
Sonia Khan, Senior Pharmacist at Medicine Direct, said: “Breast cancer can cause your appetite to decrease, which can lead to unintentional weight loss.
“If you find that you have less of an appetite or are losing weight without trying, it is a good idea to visit your doctor. While being treated for breast cancer, your weight may also rise and fall at an unpredictable rate.”
The cause of breast cancer isn’t entirely understood, but there are certain risk factors that may increase your risk, the NHS says.
You may have a higher chance of developing breast cancer if you have close relatives that have had either breast cancer.
You could lower your risk of cancer, as well as a number of other conditions, by eating a healthy, balanced diet, and by regularly exercising.
NHS breast screening checks use X-rays to look for cancers that are too small to see or feel. Anyone registered with a GP as female will be invited for NHS breast screening.
You’ll automatically get your first invite for breast screening between the ages of 50 and 53. Then you’ll be invited every three years until you turn 71.
Nonetheless, you should see a GP if you have any symptoms of breast cancer even if you have recently had a clear breast screening.
You will usually get your results within two weeks of your breast screening appointment.
If you do have breast cancer, Cancer Research says: “Your treatment depends on where your cancer is, how big it is, whether it has spread anywhere else in your body, and your general health.”
It explains that survival is generally very good for breast cancer and is continuing to improve.
It suggests that this is probably because of “screening, early diagnosis and improved treatment”.
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