Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, it starts in the breast tissue. One in eight women develop it in their lifetime – but not everyone’s risk is the same. October is breast cancer awareness month, we’ll be sharing information about this cancer as well as support to help you live well with cancer.
Some people will have higher or lower risk than others and the chances of developing this cancer depends on a combination of our genes and bodies, lifestyle and life choices and the surrounding environment. As we get older the risk increases. At least four out of five of all cases in the UK are in women over the age of 50.
Some symptoms of breast cancer may include:
- Breast or nipple pain
- Changes in skin texture
- Nipple changes: discharge, inversion, or retraction
Any of the symptoms may not be breast cancer, but it’s always worth getting it checked and visiting your GP if you’re worried about anything at all. The earlier a cancer is picked up, the more likely treatment will be effective.
Once tested and diagnosed, your GP may refer you to a specialist to see what kind of treatment is best for you.
The earlier the cancer is diagnosed, the better chance of beating it. So it’s important to check your breasts regularly. There’s no specialist technique and you don’t need training just remember to check the entire area of your breasts, including your upper chest and armpits. Lumps are important to look out for and can be the first symptom for many women. Pain in your breasts is not normally a sign of breast cancer, but it can be associated with other symptoms. Visit Breast Cancer Now’s website for tips and information about checking your breasts and what to look out for.
Treatment depends on the type of cancer you have and what stage it is at. Treatment can range from surgery through to chemo or radiotherapy. If you are diagnosed your cancer specialist will work with you to find the best treatment for you and the type of breast cancer you have.
Men and breast cancer
Breast cancer is rare in men. There are about 390 men diagnosed each year in the UK, compared to around 54,800 cases in women (Cancer Research UK). There are some similarities between male breast cancer and female breast cancer. For more information about breast cancer in men visit Cancer Research UK’s website.
Living with breast cancer
A healthy diet and lifestyle may improve your wellbeing during cancer treatment. After receiving your diagnosis, you should receive specialist support from your MDT about your treatment plan. However, you may feel like you need additional emotional and psychological support as well as self-care techniques to help you be in the best place possible for your treatment.
We provide integrative care because we believe that a person with cancer needs to be treated holistically, taking into account your mind, spirit, emotions, and body. Our support includes nutrition, exercise, mindfulness and meditation, complementary therapies, and relaxation techniques.
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