With 12,000 out of 45,000 women diagnosed destined to die early detection is absolutely vital

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A health improvement worker at the Western Trust wants women to get to know how their breasts normally look and feel at different times of the month this October with stark statistics showing over 45,500 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the United Kingdom.

Approximately 12,000 of these women will die from it.

Sandra Semple, from the Western Trust’s Health Improvement Department said: “Women over 50 years are more at risk from developing breast cancer, but younger women can also get breast cancer so it is important that women of all ages are ‘breast aware.’

“Most cases of breast cancer are found by women noticing unusual changes, taking the initiative and visiting their doctor.”

Women are being asked to make a habit of checking for a range of symptoms this Otober, which is officially ‘Breast Awareness’ month.

Amongst the things to look out for are: a lump or thickening in the breast; a change in size or shape of a breast; dimpling of the skin; a change in the shape of your nipple, or becomes inverted; a blood-stained discharge from the nipple; a rash on a nipple or surrounding area; a swelling or lump in your armpit; pain or discomfort in one part of your breast or in your armpit if new and persistent.

The message is to be ‘Breast Aware.’ That, according to the Western Trust, means getting to know how your breasts normally look and feel at different times of the month.

Know what is normal for you; know what changes to look for; report changes to your GP without delay; attend for breast screening aged 50 plus.

The good news is that the death rate for women with breast cancer has fallen by almost a fifth over the last decade.

Thanks to improved detection, better treatments and women being more ‘breast aware’, more people are beating breast cancer than ever before and now 8 out of 10 female breast cancer patients survive their disease beyond five years.

The earlier breast cancer is found, the better the chances of beating it. In Northern Ireland one in nine women will develop breast cancer at some stage of their lives.

‘Being Breast Aware’ information sessions can be made available by contacting Sandra Semple at the Health Improvement Department on 028 7186 5127.

The aim of these training sessions is to raise awareness of breast cancer, the breast cancer screening programme and to teach women to become familiar with their breasts by encouraging them to look and feel for changes regularly. During these sessions women have the chance to try out the breast cancer training model, receive information and ask questions on a one to one basis.

Teaching women to be ‘breast aware’ and know what is normal for them, can allow them to recognise the early signs of breast cancer and prevent it spreading.