Tickled Pink Factsheet
Be breast aware:
Across the UK, around 50,000 people, including 400 men, are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. Breast cancer is now the most common cancer in the UK. Whilst incidence rates are increasing, people are now living longer with the disease. They are more aware of breast cancer and along with the NHS screening service, this can lead to earlier detection. People also have access to improved treatments, thanks to advances in research.
The five-point awareness code
- Make sure you stay breast aware by following the five-point code:
- Know what’s normal for you
- Know what changes to look for
- Regularly check for changes
- Tell your GP about any changes straight away
- Go for breast screening when invited
(Department of Health 2009)
Know what is normal for you
In the UK around 50,000 women and 400 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, accounting for a fourth of all new cancers and 23% of all female cancer cases.
However, whilst the cases of breast cancer in British women is increasing each year, survival rates beyond five years are improving, largely because people are now more aware of breast cancer and along with the NHS screening service, this can lead to earlier detection. Improved treatments, thanks to advances in research, also mean that more people are living longer with the disease.
Even though breast cancer in men is rare, around 400 men are diagnosed each year in the UK so it is important they are breast aware too.
Please remember to be breast aware not only during October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month but throughout the year as well, as early diagnosis saves lives.
Signs and symptoms
Report any changes to your doctor without delay
- A lump or thickening which is different to the rest of the breast tissue
- Continuous pain in one part of the breast or armpit
- One breast becomes larger or lower
- A nipple becomes inverted or changes shape or position
- Skin changes including puckering or dimpling
- Swelling under the armpit or around the collarbone
- A rash on or around the nipple
- Discharge from one or both nipples
3 main risk-factors
There are 3 main risk factors for breast cancer:
- Gender – breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the UK, with around 50,000 cases diagnosed each year. Men can get breast cancer, but it is very rare (around 400 cases are diagnosed each year).
- Increasing age – the majority of breast cancers (around 80 per cent) occur in women over the age of 50.
- Significant family history – for most people, having a relative with breast cancer does not increase their risk. However, a small number of women may have an increased risk of developing breast cancer because they have a significant family history. A family history may be significant if there are a number of cases of breast cancer in the family, or cases at a young age, or male relatives with breast cancer.