October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month and is about raising awareness and funding to support those people affected by the disease.
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK, with one person being diagnosed every ten minutes. According to the latest figures, one in eight women in the UK will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.
Despite these scary numbers, breast cancer survival is improving and has doubled in the last forty years in the UK.
However, there is still room for advancement and more awareness needed of checking for signs and symptoms; for further support for those affected; and for a greater knowledge of secondary cancers and the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.
This guide aims to gather all the information in one place – from how to check for signs and symptoms; to the charities that can support those affected; to inspiring stories of women who have been diagnosed with BRCA genes.
Breast Cancer Signs and Symptoms
Knowing the signs and symptoms of breast cancer can lead to diagnosing the cancer sooner. This can be crucial in providing more effective treatment and, ultimately, saving lives.
However, a Breast Cancer Care survey found that a third of women aren’t regularly checking and a fifth say it’s because they don’t know how to check their breasts.
View Breast Cancer Care’s infographic on how to check for the signs and symptoms of breast cancer below:
However, awareness of this is still very low amongst women worldwide despite some high profile celebrities like Angelina Jolie having preventative surgery themselves.
There is a lot of confusion about the BRCA gene and other mutated genes but the simple facts are that if you are a carrier of a faulty gene (a blood test will confirm if this is the case) then you have an 85 per cent chance of developing breast cancer. It is a hereditary gene that can be passed through the mother or the father.
The National Hereditary Breast Cancer Helpline, sponsored by post-surgical bra manufacturer, Anita Care, have produced a journal to coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The journal features twelve real women who have had risk reducing mastectomies, most with reconstruction.
Alongside these stories, the journal also features a photo shoot with the inspiring women. The shoot was done at the Anita head offices in Brannenburg, Germany and Kufstein, Austria.
It is hoped that the journal will help to raise awareness of the BRCA gene and other genes that cause breast cancer, since so much of this tragic cancer could be prevented by preventative surgery.
WeAreTheCity have interviewed seven of these inspiring women – keep an eye out on WATC for their stories.
Secondary Breast Cancer Awareness Day
During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Secondary Breast Cancer Awareness Day is also commemorated on 13 October.
Secondary breast cancer is when cancer spreads away from the primary site to another part of the body. Unfortunately, once breast cancer spreads throughout the body, it cannot be cured. As a result, secondary breast cancer is the main cause of death from breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Care campaign to improve the care for people with secondary breast cancer.
The charity has found that the care and support for people living with secondary cancer is not good enough. Two-thirds of Hospital Trusts in England don’t know how many of their patients have secondary breast cancer; and three quarters of NHS Trusts and Health Boards say there is not enough specialist nursing care.
The ‘Secondary. Not Second Rate’ campaign is helping those affected get the right care to enable them to manage this incurable condition.
Find out more about the campaign and secondary breast cancer here.