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Breast cancer symptoms: Seven signs you need to know to catch the condition early

One in three women don’t know what they are looking for when checking their breasts, according to figures, and one in seven have never seen or been shown how to check their breasts for signs of cancer. Additionally one in five women find breast checking an embarrassing topic to talk about. More than one in three say they have never spoken to anyone about breast cancer and only a third of people are able to correctly identify all the symptoms of breast cancer. These findings stress the importance of highlighting breast cancer awareness, knowing the signs and symptoms of the disease and opening up a dialogue amongst friends and family.

The aim for Breast Cancer Awareness 2019 is to galvanise all women of all ages to talk about breast cancer and be knowledgeable on breast checking

Doctor Zoe Williams

The Breast Cancer Awareness campaign is spearheaded by This Morning’s resident GP, Dr Zoe Williams.

Doctor Zoe Williams explained to “The aim for Breast Cancer Awareness 2019 is to galvanise all women of all ages to talk about breast cancer and be knowledgeable on breast checking.

“This includes knowing about breast cancer, who is at risk and knowing that it can happen at any age.

“We want to encourage women to know what their breasts look and feel like normally, so that they can spot any changes an understand how to do breast self-checks at home and the need to do it regularly.

“We want to provide information on the signs and symptoms of breast cancer to look out for, understand the importance of discussing breast checking and any history of breast cancer one may have amongst family members.”

Breast Cancer Awareness is a campaign that has been running for over 27 years, working alongside Estée Lauder and recognised by the  pink ribbon.

Doctor Zoe added: “The three main reasons why women don’t check their breasts for cancer is firstly because of embarrassment, secondly they don’t know how and thirdly they don’t know what they are looking for.”

When asked what age women should start checking their breasts, Doctor Zoe said: “The sooner the better really.

“As young girls start developing and getting their periods, so they should be taught by their mothers how to correctly check their breasts.”

In terms of the best way to check, Doctor Zoe advised: “It’s really down to the person.

“One should aim for at least once a month checking. Some women find it easier doing it in the shower or bath using soap.

“However others find it easier to do it in front of the mirror. Whichever way works for you just as long as you are doing it.”

Breast cancer symptoms are as follows:

  • A new lump or area of thickened tissue in either breast that was not there before
  • A change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
  • Bloodstained discharge from either of your nipples
  • A lump or swelling in either of your armpits
  • Dimpling on the skin of your breasts
  • A rash on or around your nipple
  • A change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast

Breast pain is not usually a symptom of breast cancer.

Checking your breasts regularly can help you notice these symptoms.

The NHS advises: “Get to know what is normal for you – for instance, your breasts may look or feel different at different times of your life.

“This will make it much easier to spot potential problems.”

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