Now you can get your breasts checked for cancer on the high street as Superdrug launches free consultation service
- The high street retailer announced consultations are available at 56 clinics
- The chain hopes the move will ‘start more conversations’ about breast cancer
- Superdrug said consultations would be free, though people cannot just turn up
Superdrug has today announced it is rolling out free breast check consultations at dozens of its stores to spot cancer early.
Trained nurses working at 56 of the retailer’s clinics will be on hand to tell women, and men, how to examine their own breasts.
The high street chain hopes the move will ‘start more conversations’ about breast cancer, the fourth biggest cancer killer in the UK.
Trained nurses working at 56 of the retailer’s UK clinics will be on hand to tell women, and men, how to examine their own breasts
Charlotte Tarr, from Suffolk, was diagnosed aged 25 with the disease after noticing her right breast was harder than usual (pictured during her treatment)
It comes after a study yesterday revealed breast cancer death rates have improved by nearly a fifth in just five years in the UK.
Better drugs, widespread screening and much earlier diagnosis were credited by the scientists for the improvement.
Superdrug said its consultations would be free, though people cannot just turn up and expect to be seen.
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The retailer stresses those seeking the service – which is strictly no touching – will need to book an appointment online.
The move was launched with CoppaFeel, a charity which wants everyone to ‘have the best possible chance of surviving breast cancer’.
Dr Pixie McKenna, Superdrug’s health and wellbeing ambassador, said: ‘Once you know how simple checking your breasts is, it can save your life.
CHECKING MY BREASTS SAVED MY LIFE: 28-YEAR-OLD PRAISES MOVE BY SUPERDRUG
Ms Tarr, of Suffolk, said it’s unlikely she would have beat the disease if she didn’t check her breasts (pictured in Thailand before her diagnosis)
A 28-year-old breast cancer survivor said it’s unlikely she would have beat the disease if she didn’t check her breasts.
Charlotte Tarr, from Suffolk, was diagnosed with the disease in February 2017, aged 25, after noticing her right breast was harder than usual.
She said: ‘After checking my breasts one night I noticed the smallest of changes. My right breast just simply felt a little denser, a little harder I suppose.
‘It wasn’t rock solid and it didn’t hurt specifically, there was no lump or bump, change in skin tone or texture.’
Ms Tarr couldn’t shake the ‘what if’ feeling, after signing up to CoppaFeel’s free text service because of watching a documentary on its founder.
Doctors in Australia, where she was living and working at the time, then diagnosed her with breast cancer that had spread to her lymph nodes.
Ms Tarr flew back to England and began chemotherapy, before having a mastectomy followed by radiotherapy.
She had breast reconstruction surgery nine months after her diagnosis, when she was given the all-clear, and is due to have another mastectomy in May this year.
Ms Tarr has now been in remission for 18 months. She said: ‘I have hair again, I’m on zero medication and I feel more like myself each day.
‘I feel like I’ve got my life back on track. I know how much worse my prognosis would have been if I hadn’t checked earlier.’
She added: ‘The only way for even more people to be saved is to talk about it and to make checking breasts as common and habitual as having a shower in the morning.
‘I am so pleased Superdrug has taken the step to introduce more checks and conversations on the high street.
‘Normalising the conversation is so important… It really could be as easy as going to your local Superdrug to save your life.’
BREAST CANCER DEATHS HAVE IMPROVED BY NEARLY A FIFTH IN FIVE YEARS
Breast cancer death rates have improved by nearly a fifth in just five years, a study has found.
Better drugs, widespread screening and earlier diagnosis has driven the UK from the worst in a table of the six biggest European countries in 2014, to second best this year.
Researchers predict breast cancer mortality will drop to just 13.3 per 100,000 women in the UK this year, down from 16.19 per 100,000 between 2010 and 2014.
The 18 per cent improvement is the biggest seen in the six largest European countries – France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland and the UK.
From 2005 to 2014 the UK had the worst breast cancer death rates of the six.
The projection for 2019 shows death rates in Britain have improved so much that now it comes second only to Spain, where 10.4 per 100,000 women are predicted to die of breast cancer this year.
The study – published in the Annals of Oncology journal – suggests 10,700 women will die of breast cancer in Britain this year, down from 11,384 in 2014.
The researchers, led by the University of Milan, calculated that more than 440,000 breast cancer deaths have been avoided in the EU in the last 31 years.
‘Everyone should be able to check whether on themselves or a partner, or even talking it through with a friend – the more conversations the better!’
Caris Newson, Head of Healthcare Services at Superdrug said: ‘We hope this will be the start of more conversations and more checks around the UK.’
Sophie Dopierala, director of education and health communications at CoppaFeel said knowledge on what to look for is the ‘main barrier’.
She added the charity will reach a ‘whole new audience’ with the breast cancer awareness message because of Superdrug’s announcement.
Most lumps are due to something harmless, such as a non-cancerous tissue growth or a build-up of fluid.
But Superdrug said it will recommend anyone who has found an abnormality, including a lump in their breast, to consult their GP as soon as possible.
Every year 55,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in Britain – the equivalent of 150 cases a day.
Medical advances mean breast cancer survival has improved, doubling in the last 40 years, according to Cancer Research UK.
Around 80 per cent of women diagnosed with the disease will live for at least a decade – compared to 40 per cent in the 1970s.
Survival chances are much higher when the disease is spotted in its earlier stages, when symptoms can include a lump or redness.
The move comes after scientists last week revealed they have created a test that can predict the risk of breast cancer returning.
Researchers at the University of Cambridge and Stanford University examined tumours to find there are 11 different types of the disease.
HOW TO CHECK YOUR BREASTS
What to look out for
- Changes in skin texture for example puckering/dimpling
This is why it is so important to feel AND look at you r boobs. Dimpling and puckering of the skin can look similar to orange peel
- Swelling in your armpit or around your collarbone
It is important to check not just your boob but your upper chest and armpit too, as these areas also contain breast tissue
- Nipple discharge
This is liquid that comes from the nipple without squeezing it
- A sudden, unusual change in shape or shape
Most women may naturally have one boob bigger than the other or experience their boobs gradually changing as they get older.
Many changes are perfectly normal, however if you notice a sudden, unusual change in size or shape then get it checked out
- Nipple inversion and changes in direction
All this means is your nipple has become pulled into the boob or looks different to usual. This could be a change in its position or shape. That’s why it is important to pay special attention to your nipple during your regular checks
- A rash or crusting of the nipple or surrounding area
There are many reasons why your skin could become irritated, especially if you are breast feeding, but if you notice any redness or a rash on the skin and/or around the nipple or any crusting of the nipple, make sure you get it checked out by your doctor
What to feel for
- Lumps and thickening
Some boobs are naturally lumpy and this can be perfectly normal. The key is to get to know how your boobs feel, so you would notice if any new lumps appear or if your boob starts to feel thicker in one area compared to the rest
- Constant, unusual pain in your breast or armpit
Some breast pain can be perfectly normal, especially around your period. But keep an eye out for any unexplained pain in your breast or your armpit that’s there all or almost all of the time
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