South West Lincolnshire CCG is supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month, during October, in a bid to raise awareness about the importance of screening and early detection of breast cancer.
More than 55,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the UK, making it the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women - one in eight UK women will develop breast cancer at some point in their lifetime, with the risk increasing with age.
In addition, every year around 7,400 women are diagnosed with an earlier, non-invasive form of breast cancer, usually confined to a specific area of the breast (usually milk ducts) but which may later develop the ability to spread. The sad fact is that nearly 1,000 UK women still die of breast cancer every month.
However, the good news is that most women will survive breast cancer if it is detected and treated early - breast screening provides early detection in women who appear well and do not have any symptoms of the disease, and more women than ever are surviving breast cancer thanks to better awareness, better screening and better treatments - an estimated five out of six women diagnosed with breast cancer in England and Wales survive for at least five years.
In many cases, breast cancer is detected by women noticing unusual changes in their breast and taking the initiative to visit their GP practice. These changes can include unusual lumps, breast pain, changes in texture of the skin or unusual discharge, and all women should check themselves regularly and be aware of how their breasts look and feel normally, so that anything unusual is more easily spotted and can be checked out by a doctor as soon as possible.
Currently, women aged 50-70 who are registered with a GP are automatically invited for breast screening every three years. In England, the NHS has extended this age range so that women aged 47 to 73 are to be invited for screening. Women under the age of 47 will not be offered routine screening unless they have been identified as being higher risk, for example because of their family history.
Around 350 UK men are also diagnosed with breast cancer every year.