Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, with one in eight women developing it in their lifetime – but not everyone’s risk is the same. 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.
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.