It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Author: Chloe Smith, Updated: 30 September 2023 17:57
In as long as it takes you to read this post, a British woman will hear she has breast cancer. 5,000 will hear that diagnosis in October, and in our lifetimes 1 in 7 of us will have the disease. It’s the most common cancer, and still pretty frightening. But it’s not so scary an idea if you’re checking regularly, and getting the right support.
I check my breasts regularly. It’s lucky I do, because in October three years ago I found a lump on the right side. I rang the GP and was seen quickly, with plenty of reassurance and helpful advice. Sadly, a diagnosis followed, opening up to full scale treatment by Christmas that year and surgery by Easter. It was a torrid time and I don’t look back on it with any fondness - but thanks to early action and great NHS treatment, I am fighting fit again now with only a daily pill and a new hairstyle to show for it. In fact, it’s the hairstyle I’d always wanted! And as I enjoy a new weights workout in the gym most weeks, despite having something a little different in my right chest than I started with, I reflect on how I can raise more awareness of breast cancer so that others get the care that I had.
The frontier of progress in breast cancer, and other cancer care, is exciting right now. Scientists at the Quadram Institute in Norwich, for example, are doing fascinating research. And shortly patients in the UK will be able to have personalised cancer vaccines. This is why it matters that we are a scientific superpower - because it changes people’s lives.
Please get involved and get behind that mission, and most of all please check your breasts for any signs.