It really is time to think pink this month as October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.
Not only is it important to support the campaign by buying a pink ribbon or some of the products on sale to rise money for charities relating to Breast Cancer, it’s important to think and talk about the subject. Worryingly the current statistic in Ireland is that 1 in 9 women will develop breast cancer in the course of their lifetime.
Recently we’ve seen the sad story of Girl’s Aloud singer, Sarah Harding, who passed away from breast cancer at the age of only 39.
Young People Can Develop Breast Cancer Too
Although statistically you may not be considered at risk of developing Breast Cancer right now sadly there are always exceptions to this. CoppaFeel! is a UK charity that was founded in 2009 by Kristin Hallenga and her twin sister Maren after Kris was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer at the age of 23. Yep, it can happen that young. And also did you know that men actually have the same breast tissue as us girls? So, they are at risk of developing breast cancer too. It’s estimated that 400 men are diagnosed with it every year. So, maybe direct the men in your life here too.
CoppaFeel! state their mission as “to help everyone stand the best possible chance of surviving breast cancer, because if found early it is very treatable and survival rates are higher. That’s why you need to become good chums with your boobs and coppafeel regularly.” And we wholeheartedly agree with this.
Get To Know Your Boobs Now
Although the most of you reading this will not have to worry about cancer yet it is important that you should be aware of it now. You need to know what’s normal for your body and what’s not. Getting to know your own body is so important and the sooner you do that the better. Getting into a monthly routine now no mater your age with checking your breasts means it will become a habit for you in your life and you’re more likely to pick up on any changes in the breast tissue as you age.
Not all lumps and bumps are cancerous, so don’t freak out. Some women also develop breast cysts in their life. These are mainly harmless, but they can become quite painful and it’s important to be aware of them and monitor them with your doctor incase they cause you any trouble.
And don’t just think of yourself, what about those around you? Ask your friends, your mom, your sister, your aunty, your granny are they checking? Are they doing it regularly? Do they know how to properly check? Have they gone for their most recent monogram? Early detection really is the best chance for us all. And talking about it, being aware of our bodies and confident in checking ourselves is so important.
If you have a history of breast cancer in your family it’s even more important that you keep an eye on your boobs. We don’t say any of this to scare you, because of course it is worrying, but the reality is that the earlier breast cancer is detected the better the chance of a full recovery.
How To Do A Self Breast Examination
It’s recommended that you do a self examination of your breasts every month in order to look out for changing in your breast.
Here’s how to do a breast check.
Breast Cancer Ireland also have an app that’s free to download that sends a reminder to your phone once a month to remind you to check, as well as a guide on how to properly self examine yourself. There’s also a cool feature on the site that allows you to send an email about the app to 5 women in your life to encourage them to check themselves.
Changes in your breasts to be aware of
- A change in size or shape – it may be that one breast has become larger – just note that it is normal for your breasts to change a lot throughout your teen years and the contraceptive pill can also affect them.
- Changes in the nipple – in direction or shape, pulled in or flattened nipple
- Changes on or around the nipple – rash, flaky or crusted skin
- Changes in the skin – dimpling, puckering or redness
- ‘Orange peel’ appearance of the skin caused by unusually enlarged pores
- Swelling in your armpit or around your collarbone
- A lump, any size, or thickening in your breast
- Constant pain in one part of your breast or armpit
The week after your period has ended is the best time to check. Each month, when you are having periods, your breasts often change. They can become bigger, tender and lumpy usually before a period starts and return to normal once the period is over. Some women, however, may have tender, lumpy breasts throughout their cycle. Keep a note of these symptoms too so you can remember, it’s easy to forget things month to month. This can reassure you as well as point to a change.
Sex Education Teams Up With Stella McCartney To Raise Awareness
Netflix Sex Education have teamed up with fashion designer Stella McCartney to raise the importance of self examining your breasts to look out for changes. The video give the usually Sex Education spin but with an important message attached.
This October we really encourage you to support charities involved in flighting back again this terrible diseases, but also to open up a dialogue about it with those around you and to start getting to know your boobs. Awareness and early detection really is the only way we can fight this horrible disease.