The tragic death of Sarah Harding at just 39 has underlined the importance of being breast aware. Getting to know your breasts by checking them regularly is vital to ensure an earlier diagnosis.
Sarah revealed when she was diagnosed that she had put off going to see her GP when she noticed symptoms because of the pandemic. She was not alone – it has been estimated that almost 11,000 breast cancer cases have gone undiagnosed in the UK due to the pandemic.
Although breast cancer is more common in older women, we encourage women (and men) of all ages to check themselves regularly. Sarah was only 38 when diagnosed, and 39 when she died. We recently shared the story of our supporter Tabby, who was just 26 when she was diagnosed, and she recalls in her diary everyone thinking she was too young to have breast cancer.
Women of all ages – and men, too – should be checking themselves regular and remember the 5 point plan:
- Know what’s normal for you
- Look at your breasts and feel them
- Know what changes to look for
- Report any changes without delay
- Attend routine screening if you’re 50 or over
Against Breast Cancer trustee Dr Vickki Harmer is a consultant nurse in breast care at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and was recently interviewed for national TV.
In this video, Vickki explains what signs to look out for and what the next steps should be in your feel an abnormality in your breast. She also discusses screening and what to expect should you be referred to a breast clinic.
For more advice on the symptoms to look out for, you can also visit our breast cancer symptoms page.
Our new leaflet ‘Something isn’t right with my breast…’ has been designed to help you by explaining the investigative and referral process. It contains information on the questions you are likely to be asked, the tests which might be carried out and includes advice on how to prepare for receiving your results.