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Women unaware of breast cancer indicators

Women unaware of breast cancer indicators

Shocking new figures suggest that a high percentage of women don't know many of the early warning signs of breast cancer.

More than 1,100 women were surveyed by charity Breast Cancer Care, and while 96 per cent knew that a lump was an indicator, many failed to identify other symptoms. A total of 39 per cent didn't know redness or a rash could signal something was wrong, and 28 per cent were unaware that an inverted nipple was a possible sign.

It was also found that a third of women do not check their breasts regularly, and a fifth of those who don't self-check admitted they didn't know how to do it properly.

"We know earlier detection can mean more effective treatment," Samia al Qadhi, Breast Cancer Care chief executive, said. "Make today the day you start getting to know your breasts."

The NHS guidelines for checking your breasts are straightforward and should become a regular part of your routine. To check for a lump it advises: "Look at your breasts and feel each breast and armpit, and up to your collarbone. You may find it easiest to do this in the shower or bath, by running a soapy hand over each breast and up under each armpit.

You can also look at your breasts in the mirror. Look with your arms by your side and also with them raised."

As well as redness, rashes and an inverted nipple, look out for changes in the size and shape of your breast, a change in the look or feel of your skin (dimpling or puckering), thickening or bumpy areas and any discomfort in the breasts. Discharge that's not milky or bleeding from your nipples are also signs, as is a moist red area on your nipple that doesn't heal easily. Keep an eye out for a change in nipple position too.

Exciting strides are happening in the treatment of breast cancer, including a simple blood test devised by British scientists. The new method, which lessens the trauma for patients by taking blood rather than tissue, means dangerous changes to tumours can be picked up. This could allow women with advanced stages of the cancer to live longer.

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