This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, South East London Cancer Alliance (SELCA) is urging women to be aware of their breast health and to know how to check themselves for cancer symptoms.
Being breast aware means getting to know how your breasts look and feel at different times and telling your doctor straight away if you notice any unusual changes.
It is important that women continue to look at and check their breasts regularly, even if they have had a mammogram. Anyone who has noticed any abnormal changes to their breasts should contact their GP as soon as possible.
The NHS in England is encouraging women to use the ‘TLC’ method for checking their breasts.
TOUCH your breasts. Can you feel anything unusual?
LOOK for changes. Is there any change in shape or texture?
CHECK anything unusual with your doctor.
Breast cancer screening saves the lives of around 1,300 women every year in the UK and around 21,000 cancers are detected via this method. It takes only a few minutes to perform and helps find breast cancers at an early stage when they are too small to see or feel.
In addition to hospitals, mobile screening vans are available in convenient community locations, such as supermarket car parks.
Leicia, from Leeds, was 36 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year.
Leicia said: “I am pleased to say that it was caught early and following surgery, radiotherapy and a lot of support from our wonderful NHS people, I’m well on the way to recovery.”
“But not everyone is as lucky. Black women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with advanced breast cancer compared to white women — most likely due to low awareness of symptoms and screening.”
“That’s why this I want to raise awareness of the importance of checking yourself, seeking help when needed and attending mammograms when invited.”
“It’s so important to spot cancer early — because the sooner it can be treated, the better the outcome.”
Women are offered breast screening on the NHS between the ages of 50 and up to their 71st birthday. Women who are over the age of 70 can contact their local breast screening centre for screening once every 3 years.
If you have an appointment for breast screening it is important that you attend.