Almost 80% of women in the UK now survive breast cancer beyond 10 years. Early detection, raised awareness and additional research are helping to shift that closer to 100%, something which Breast Cancer Awareness is actively aiming to achieve.
Common Form Of Cancer
Breast Cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer among women and while better treatments and earlier detections means that more and more people are living long and full lives after breast cancer, the rates of breast cancer are increasing. One in 10 women will get breast cancer at some stage and while it is more common in women older than 50, younger women can get it too. Men are not immune from the disease, though cancer of the breast is very rare in men.
The causes of breast cancer are not fully understood, though a number of risk factors have been identified. Being a women, getting older, having a family history of breast cancer, having a history of benign breast conditions, taking HRT or using the pill, early menarche, late menopause and having children later in life or not at all, increase your breast cancer risk. Some of these risk factors are beyond the control of the individual but being aware of them can help you take steps to manage the risk.
It is particularly important that every female, no matter what their risk is, becomes very familiar with the signs and symptoms of the disease. Familiarising yourself with the signs and symptoms and helping to spread the awareness message, is just one way that you can become involved this Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
In many women, the first symptom of breast cancer is a lump in their breast. Approximately nine out of 10 lumps are benign and not every woman with breast cancer will have obvious lumps and there are other symptoms to look out for including a change in the shape or size of a breast. Dimpling of the skin, blood-stained nipple discharge, breast pain, a rash in or around the nipple, a lump or swelling in the armpit and a change in the shape of the nipple are also symptoms. Like lumps, these symptoms don’t automatically mean that you have breast cancer and in most cases is the symptom of a benign condition. Since early detection is the greatest factor in determining the success of treatment, seeing your GP immediately if you experience any of these symptoms is important.
Helping raise money for further research, treatment and awareness is another useful way to get involved. This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, you can get involved in events that are already planner or run your own fundraising activities. The Cancer Research UK breast cancer research pack contains all the materials you need to kick-start your fundraising, including an inspiration booklet, poster templates, a fundraising guide, invitation sheets, a collection box and sponsorship and money return forms.
You don’t have to organise a large event to help raising funds. Perhaps you could give up your guilty pleasure for a period of time and donate the money you would have spent on chocolate, coffee, wine, cakes, handbags or whatever your guilty pleasure might be, to the cause. You could shave off your hair, do good deeds or keep your lips sealed for a day, in return for donations or simply empty your loose change into the collection box every evening for a month.
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