Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (BLMK CCG) is urging women to be aware of their breast health and to know how to check themselves for cancer symptoms.
Being breast aware means getting to know how your breasts look and feel at different times and telling your doctor straight away if you notice any unusual changes.
It is important that women continue to look at and check their breasts regularly, even if they have had a mammogram. Anyone who has noticed any abnormal changes to their breasts should contact their GP as soon as possible.
The NHS in England is encouraging women to use the ‘TLC’ method for checking their breasts.
- TOUCH your breasts. Can you feel anything unusual?
- LOOK for changes. Is there any change in shape or texture?
- CHECK anything unusual with your doctor
Kate, from Bedford, was 41 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. She said:
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in August last year at the age of 41. Following treatment and surgery, I am slowly on my way to recovery. However, it has become clear to me that breast cancer is now a younger women’s disease.
“As a single mum myself, I understand how busy everyone’s lives are and how hard it is to take time for ourselves. I encourage all women to take some time for themselves and pay a lot of attention to their breasts, check them regularly for anything that looks or feels unusual and attend any screening appointments they may have.
“It is very important that cancer is caught as early as possible, because the sooner it is caught and treated, the better the outcome for the patient.”
As well as encouraging women to regularly check themselves for any changes breast cancer screening saves the lives of around 1,300 women every year in the UK and around 21,000 cancers are detected via this method.
It takes only a few minutes to perform and helps find breast cancers at an early stage when they are too small to see or feel.
In addition to hospitals, mobile screening vans are available in convenient community locations, such as supermarket car parks.
Women are offered breast screening on the NHS between the ages of 50 and up to their 71st birthday. Women who are over the age of 70 can contact their local breast screening centre for screening once every 3 years.
If you have an appointment for breast screening it is important that you attend.