As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, local health chiefs at NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are encouraging women to familiarise themselves with the symptoms of breast cancer and to be aware of how to check themselves for these symptoms.
Dr Ian Sykes, GP and Chair at NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG, said: “Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK, with about one in eight women being diagnosed with it during their lifetime.
“It’s really important to know the signs and symptoms and to regularly check your breasts. Make sure to check your whole breast area as well as your upper chest and armpits. It only takes a few minutes.”
Symptoms can include any of the following:
- a new lump or area of thickened tissue
- a change in the size or shape of your breast
- swelling in either of your armpits
- a rash on or around your nipple
- constant pain in your breast or armpit
- unusual discharge from your nipples.
Dr Sykes added: “If you do notice anything unusual, you should book an appointment with your GP to have it checked out. Finding a lump doesn’t necessarily mean you have breast cancer, but it is always best to make sure.
“Some women may be hesitant when visiting their doctor for a check-up for breast cancer, but there is nothing to worry about. You can ask for a female doctor if you prefer, and also a female nurse, a member of staff or a friend or relative can accompany you during the examination.”
Watch Breast Cancer Now’s video for a guide to for how to check your breasts.
For more information on breast cancer, visit the NHS website.