Breast Cancer Awareness

group of women finishing a race to support breast cancer

Breast Cancer Awareness

Hashtags: #breastcancerawareness #breastcancer

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in the UK with around 55,000 women and 400 men diagnosed with breast cancer every year and 1 in 7 women diagnosed with the condition during their lifetime! That’s one woman receiving a breast cancer diagnosis every 10 minutes (Statistics taken from the Breast Cancer Now website).

The exact cause of breast cancer is unknown, and it can result from a combination of the way we live our lives, our genes and our environment. However, there are known risk factors that could increase chances of developing the condition such as family history, older age, gender (Women at increased risk), hormones / some hormone medications and certain lifestyle risk factors.

Research suggests that by acting on risk factors that are within our control, like maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active and reducing alcohol consumption can help reduce the likelihood of an individual developing breast cancer. Check out the Better Health webpages for on-line details and support to help individuals with weight management, reducing alcohol consumption and keeping active.

Join the movement to keep active to help reduce the risk of Breast Cancer

Did you know?

It has been indicated that being physically active can help to reduce your risk of breast cancer by up to 20%!

Physical activity has the ability to impact upon all elements of cancer;

  • It can aid prevention by enabling people to live well in the here and now.
  • Physical activity is also important for those living with and beyond cancer and can help to limit the impact of certain side effects of treatment, and alongside other recovery programmes can help to build resilience to cope better with things like fatigue, mental wellbeing impacts such as anxiety and depression, aid improvement of impaired mobility and can assist in tackling weight changes that may have been experienced from certain treatments.
  • Physical activity can play a huge role in both recovery and recuperation aspects and can also help to reduce the risk of further recurrence of breast cancer.

Challenge yourself to keep active every day

Breast Cancer UK are encouraging people to keep active with their 30-day active Challenge. The aim of the challenge is to be physically active for 30 days, you can do any activity of your choice, or do a variety of activities for the 30 days to keep yourself active. Thinking of having a go? Find out more about the levels of Physical Activity that help achieve general health and wellbeing benefits in the Chief Medical Officers Physical Activity guidelines created for the differing life stages and groups of people.

Daily Mile

Experience the benefits of regular exercise by signing up to the Daily Mile – Fit for Life challenge. Take part in a physical activity of your choice for about 15 minutes and witness the positive impact on your health and wellbeing. Everyone can take part at their own pace, regardless of ability or age and can be enjoyed with friends and family.

There’s something for everyone in North Lincolnshire, from the gym and fitness classes, to Walking Netball or chair-based exercises to just name a few. For more information on how to increase or kick-start your physical activity levels check out the Keeping Active and Health Programmes webpages for details on the wide-range of opportunities available in North Lincolnshire or follow the NL Active facebook page.

The LiveWell North Lincolnshire’s online hub of information also includes a range of community-based activities available in differing locations that can help you keep fit, healthy and socially connected with others.

Living with a long-term condition or living with and beyond Breast Cancer?

North Lincolnshire Council offer the NL Active Exercise referral scheme designed to support people with existing medical conditions (incl. those living with and beyond Cancer) to be physically active. This offers a self-referral option to NL Active exercise referral qualified activators that work with people to design personalised fitness plans to suit their current medical conditions and abilities. Providing support, advice and encouragement throughout the programme, for improved health and wellbeing. For more information email: referral@northlincs.gov.uk

We Are Undefeatable initiative, is a national on-line resource providing encouraging and inspiring stories about the positive difference being physically active can make to someone living with cancer or a long-term condition.

Listen to Darlaine’s story about how she began swimming following diagnosis and treatment for Breast Cancer.

Being breast aware prompts early detection of cancer

This Breast Cancer Awareness month people across North Lincolnshire are being reminded of the early warning signs and symptoms of breast cancer, and the vital role regular checking for early detection plays in saving lives.

One of the most common noticeable symptoms is a lump or area of thickened breast tissue.

Anyone experiencing this or any of the following symptoms should visit their GP:

  • a change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
  • discharge / fluid from either of your nipples (which may be streaked with blood)
  • a lump or swelling in either of your armpits
  • dimpling on the skin of your breasts
  • a rash on or around your nipple
  • a change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast.

Being breast aware and understanding what a ‘normal’ look and feel is for your breast tissue boosts the chances of detecting the condition earlier, making mastectomy (breast removal) or chemotherapy less likely.

All genders have breast tissue, so we should all build up an awareness of our own ‘normal’.

There are lots of useful resources to help people identify the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.

UK based charity, CoppaFeel has produced a helpful video on where and what to look for when checking breast tissue areas; including the chest, up to the collarbone and under arms, and also offers a free text message service to prompt regular monthly checking.

Humber and North Yorkshire Cancer Alliance also host free Cancer Champion Awareness sessions, helping to ensure thousands of people can spot possible early signs of cancer in themselves, friends and relatives and also ensure people are equipped with the knowledge and information to make an informed decision around attendance at the Breast Screening Programme if and when people are eligible and invited to do so. Book your place on an upcoming session on Humber and North Yorkshire Cancer Alliance website.

Sharon’s story

Sharon Hornsby, a Contact Officer at Humberside Police, was diagnosed with breast cancer after she attended one of the awareness sessions, recognised a sign and booked an appointment with her GP. She said:
“In the Cancer Champion training, they’d shown a poster of ‘Know Your Lemons’ (see graphic). It’s supposed to indicate your nipple and breast area and what to look out for. I realised that one of the lemons was actually me.

“I called the GP, who examined me and referred me to Castle Hill Breast Unit. I had the mammogram and ultrasound and the doctor said ‘you’ve two tumours in your breast and we need to take a biopsy’

“I was told I had cancer…unfortunately mine had spread to the lymph node, so I got the shock diagnosis that I needed chemotherapy.”
After the gruelling process Sharon emerged cancer free, incredibly grateful for the training and poster.

She added:

“If I hadn’t have seen that lemon poster, if I hadn’t done the Cancer Champion training, where would I be?”

Watch a video of Sharon’s story on YouTube.

Thank you to the Know Your Lemons Foundation for use of the graphic.

Box of lemons used to indicate nipples that need to be checked in relation to breast cancer

Free cancer awareness sessions

The Humber and North Yorkshire Cancer Alliance are regularly offering free cancer awareness sessions. The sessions are open to anyone living or working in North Lincolnshire and are completely free.

The training sessions take two and a half hours in total to complete, and you have the option to either complete the training in full during a face-to-face session or to do the training virtually which will be split into two parts.

To find out when their next virtual training sessions are running and to reserve your place, please visit the Humber and North Yorkshire Cancer Alliance website.

They are also offer free, bitesize breast cancer awareness sessions, that take just 15 minutes.

Join one of their on-line sessions to learn more about;

  • the signs and symptoms of breast cancer
  • how to do a breast check
  • when is breast cancer screening offered
  • what happens at a breast cancer screening

For any queries you can either email hny.cancerchampions@nhs.net or call 07519 120809.

Local support

The following organisations can offer support for someone living with cancer or those supporting / caring for an individual with the condition

Local support to help people live well today:

  • If you, or anyone you know are concerned about their alcohol consumption or require further information and support to help reduce alcohol intake then call or drop in to see the friendly, approachable staff at: With You North Lincolnshire, 189-198 High Street, Scunthorpe. Tel: 01724 857633
  • If you need help to manage a healthy weight contact the North Lincolnshire Healthy Lifestyle Service for details of their adult weight management and lifestyle related support or follow their service page on facebook for updates and further health information.

Group of men and women at a support group

Spread the word about breast cancer with these useful materials and resources:

You can Get Active this Breast Cancer Awareness month by helping to raise awareness about breast cancer with your friends, families, workplaces and community networks.