Believe it or not, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK and around 1 in 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. Most diagnosed with this painful disease are over the age of 50; however, younger women can also get it. The good news is, if detected early enough, you have a very high chance of defeating it. The best early detector of breast cancer is a mammogram.
So, why is breast cancer awareness month so important? Simply put, it reminds many women and men that monthly breast cancer exams should be a regular part of your self-care. Keep it straightforward with TLC – touch, look and check.
- Touch – Check for anything that feels different or unusual; many lumps are not seen but felt physically.
- Look – You should look for differences in size, shape, texture, colouration, discharge, rash etc.
- Check – If any changes are noticed, check with your GP/healthcare professional immediately.
Some of these symptoms will not always point to breast cancer, but keeping up with your TLC’s and mammograms will undoubtedly assist in the long run.
It is recommended that all women should perform monthly self-breast examinations, as well as a clinical breast examination by your primary care provider every year. Remember, not all abnormalities can be detected sole on manual assessments, so mammograms should be performed. At age 40-50 years, mammogram screening is recommended for all women every 1-2 years.
How to lower the risk of breast cancer?
Aside from genetics and old age, there are a few risk factors that may be able to control:
- Maintain a healthy weight range.
- Regularly exercise.
- Reduce alcohol consumption.
- Reduce tobacco consumption.
- Reducing the amount of dairy you consume
It may seem difficult right now during the global pandemic to even contemplate a mammogram, but you should not let this hold you back. Even during COVID-19, mammograms and early detection are critical for fighting this disease; delaying your diagnosis can limit treatment options.
Most importantly, never forget that breast cancer awareness month is crucial for all women and men across the UK, so spread the word and get tested!