Every three hours a woman in Ireland is diagnosed with breast cancer, and latest data shows that 2,749 new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed in 2010.
An estimated one in ten women have a chance of developing breast cancer during their lifetime and as the most common cancer among Irish women (after non-melanoma skin cancer) it’s more important than ever that women are breast aware and able to catch the signs of breast cancer earlier.
The good news is that women are now detecting changes at much earlier stages, leading to earlier diagnosis and a significant increase in survival rates. Of all women diagnosed with breast cancer, 80.6% survive for five years or longer and early detection is the key to survival.
Being breast aware is about getting to know your breasts so that you know what is normal for you so you will be able to spot a sign or symptom of breast cancer.
Signs and symptoms of breast cancer are:
A change in size or shape such as one breast becoming larger than the other
A change in the skin such as puckering or dimpling (like orange peel) or redness
A change in the direction or shape of your nipple, especially if it sinks into your breast or becomes irregular in shape
An unusual discharge (liquid) from one or both of your nipples
A change on or around the nipple such as a rash or flaky or crusted skin
Swelling in your armpit or around your collarbone
A lump or thickening in your breast
Constant pain in one part of your breast or armpit
If you notice any one of these changes talk to your doctor without delay.
For information about breast cancer, breast health or Breast Cancer Awareness Month visit www.cancer.ie or call the National Cancer Helpline on Freefone 1800 200 700.
Throughout the month of October, the Irish Cancer Society has been calling on women across Ireland to come together and Get the Girls to raise funds for vital breast cancer services and research in Ireland to support those affected by breast cancer. The Get the Girls campaign is a fun way for women to get together and raise money for breast cancer research. If you would like to organise your own Get the Girls event, make a donation or find more information visit www.getthegirls.ie or CallSave 1850 60 60 60.