Did you know that more women are being diagnosed with breast cancer than any other cancer in the UK?
There are more than 50,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer each year – that’s one every ten minutes. And although rare in men, there are still some 350 male breast cancer diagnoses in the UK each year.
Early diagnosis can make a great deal of difference to people’s health outcomes, which is why consultant breast surgeon Mr Marek Ostrowski, from BMI Goring Hall Hospital, Worthing, is keen to make sure that people know the top risk factors and top preventive factors associated with the disease.
“Having a diagnosis of breast cancer is distressing for the patient and for their families, too,” said Mr Ostrowski. “However, early detection means that the woman – or man – can make a decision about the most appropriate course of action for them.”
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the ideal time to remind women and men of the symptoms. The most common symptom is a lump usually found by the patient themselves.
However, other symptoms may include blood-stained nipple discharge, nipple inversion or flattening, dimpling or tethering, an orange-peel appearance of the skin over the breast, lumps in the armpit or neck, or any redness which may suggest inflammation or persistent pain.
BMI Goring Hall Hospital is part of BMI Healthcare, which has put together a guide to encourage people to Be Breast Aware. It can be downloaded from www.bmihealthcare.co.uk/be-breast-aware
The three top risk factors associated with breast cancer are:-
1. Age: your risk increases with age, but this does not mean that it cannot affect younger people.
2. Family: you are at greater risk if an immediate family member – mother, sister or grandmother – has had breast cancer.
3. Genes: carrying the breast cancer genes BRCA1 or BRCA2 increases the likelihood of developing breast cancer.
The top three preventive factors are:-
1. Being physically active: 30 minutes of exercise five times a week can lower your risk of developing breast cancer by 15 per cent to 30 per cent.
2. Diet: although it is difficult to be exact about the true impact of a healthy diet, research indicates that approximately nine per cent of cancer cases could be avoided by changing our diets.
3. Breast feeding: statistics show that mothers who breast feed are less likely to develop breast cancer than those who don’t.
Mr Ostrowski said: “I’d encourage everyone to be breast aware and to make time to check themselves regularly.
“Knowing your own body means that you will know what is normal for you and be able to identify any changes as early as possible, and to see your doctor if you have any worries or concerns.”