Women Should Check Breasts As Cancer Cases Rise

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©Rui Vieira/PA

Women in Ireland need to be more breast aware.

That’s the message from Breast Cancer Ireland at the start of Breast Cancer Awareness month.

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They are urging women to check their breasts and have warned the disease is affecting women under the age of 50.

30% of women diagnosed with breast cancer in Ireland are aged between 20 and 50.

At the start of Breast Cancer Awareness month, women of all ages are being urged to be breast aware and to look out for signs of cancer.

Cases jumped by 25 % over ten years. More than 3,100 women in Ireland are diagnosed with the condition every year, up from 2,495 in 2007.

Early detection greatly improves the chances of survival. The society is urging women to be aware of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.

A change in size, shape or tone of skin, or the appearance of puckering or dimpling could be a danger sign, as could a change in the direction or shape of the nipple.

Women should also watch out for unusual discharge, a rash or flaky skin, swelling in the armpit or around the collarbone, a lump or thickening in the breast and constant pain in the breast or armpit.

The risk of breast cancer can be reduced by maintaining a healthy weight, not drinking more than the recommended daily amount of alcohol and not smoking. Women who breastfeed their babies also lower their risk.

Joan Kelly, Cancer Support Manager, Irish Cancer Society said:

“It is important that every woman is breast aware,” “This means knowing what is normal for you so that if any unusual change occurs, you will recognise it. The sooner you notice a change the better, because if cancer is found early, treatment is more likely to be successful. Get into the habit of looking at and feeling your breasts regularly, a good time to do this is in the shower or bath. If you notice something abnormal for you talk to your doctor without delay.”