We think we know what the signs of breast cancer are, until it comes to checking our own breasts - then we’re not so sure. Is that a lump I can feel? Should I be worried about the dimpled skin there? What exactly am I feeling for? Those were the concerns of Corrine Beaumont, a young designer, who created the ‘Know Your Lemons’ campaign, which has been shared more than 32,000 times on Facebook in the past few days.
Corrine describes the egg box of lemons as a playful, friendly image which might help women overcome their fear of the disease. She was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer after recognising she had an indentation in her breast, all thanks to a similar image detailing what breast cancer could look like.
A recent survey of 1,000 women by charity Breast Cancer Care found that a third of women don’t check their breast regularly for signs and symptoms of cancer. While 96% know that a lump in the breast can be a symptom of cancer, more than a quarter did not know that an inverted nipple can be a symptom.
In 9 out of 10 cases these lumps are not cancer, but it’s always a good idea to visit your GP to check. Other common symptoms to look out for are dimpling of the skin, indentations in the breast and a change in the position of the nipple. Prof Jayant Vaidya, professor of surgery and oncology at University College London, says indentation or flattening of the breast, particularly when the arm is lifted or when women lean forward is an important early sign.
In the UK, awareness is already at a pretty high level, so delay is more likely due to fear or denial, he says. What is important, breast cancer charities say, is being aware of how your own breasts feel normally and then looking out for any unusual changes. A change in size or shape, a lump or thickening anywhere in the breast should be taken seriously.
However, Jane Murphy, clinical nurse specialist at Breast Cancer Care, says she doesn’t want people to become paranoid about breast cancer. Cancer
Research UK points out that spotting a sign doesn’t necessarily mean cancer.
Courtesy: BBC health