Breast Cancer Awareness Month
by Lisa De Silva
Celebrating 25 years of giving hope, strength and friendship to all those affected by breast cancer.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK. Every ten minutes someone is diagnosed with the disease, with 1 in 8 women developing breast cancer during their lifetime. The good news is that today people survive for longer than ever before, but to save more lives greater awareness of the disease is needed.
Breast Cancer Care launched the first UK Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an idea brought it over from the US. It is now supported by many charities. Every October the charity renews its efforts to raise peoples’ awareness of changes in the breast region which need to be checked out. This includes any change in size or appearance, including dimpling of the skin, any swelling, redness, soreness or lumps. Inverted nipples, or nipple discharge also needs investigating.
In fact, any unusual changes noted in the breasts, or the area around the armpit and collarbone, requires a visit to the GP. Many of these changes will not need further investigation, but it’s important to discover what’s causing them.
For those diagnosed with breast cancer, Breast Cancer Care, offers a whole host of practical and emotional support, all free of charge. This encompasses award winning information, a helpline, the opportunity to talk to healthcare professionals, a friendly forum and the chance to connect, along with an event for younger women called Younger Women Together.
Someone who has benefitted from their help is Kreena Dhiman from Crawley. Kreena was diagnosed with the disease in June 2013 aged just 33, after noticing an inverted nipple. Before starting treatment, Kreena attended a Breast Cancer Care workshop specifically for younger women. “It was amazing. I got the practical help that was to be my armour for the path ahead and made some very dear friends, who have been brilliant for sharing emotional support,” she tells me.
The help Kreena received inspired her to give something back and now she fundraises and gives talks, particularly to younger women, to help raise awareness of the disease. “Initially I tried to hide the fact that I had cancer, but then I realised that all of these charities are helping people like me to live as normal a life as possible and I suddenly became aware that I wanted to give something back,” she explains. “I was young, didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, ate well and exercised, yet I got cancer. So, I want to use my experience to raise awareness of the disease and help others.”
This year the Pink Ribbon, a powerful symbol for those affected by breast cancer, celebrates its 25th Anniversary. Breast cancer affects many peoples’ lives and you can show your support for Breast Cancer Care by fundraising, donating, attending or hosting an event. By raising awareness we can all help to save more lives.
Help Breast Cancer Care support people affected by breast cancer this Breast Cancer Awareness Month by holding a Big Pink. Visit www.breastcancercare.org.uk/October for more information.