Manchester is the cancer capital of England. Death rates from the disease are higher than anywhere else in the country.
There are many reasons for this such as poor lifestyles and people going to see their GP too late. But one thing is certain: this is a situation which cannot carry on.
Unless this current generation starts to take stock, this sorry picture could get even worse.
Fortunately, thanks to pioneering work at places like the Christie, treatments are getting better and survival rates are improving all the time. But the best cure of all has to be to not get the disease in the first place and there are many things you can do to reduce your risk of cancer.
|Checking for Breast Cancer //|
One woman in nine in the United Kingdom will develop breast cancer during her lifetime.
Each year 41,000 women are newly diagnosed with breast cancer and on average 13,000 women will die from the disease. However survival rates are improving with on average 77 per cent of women still alive five years later.
Nearly 80% of all breast cancers are detected by women who report unusual changes to their doctor. This statistic highlights the importance of being breast aware.
To be breast aware means becoming familiar with how your breasts look and feel. You should understand how your breasts may change at different times during the month and also as you get older. The important thing is to recognise which changes are usual and which are not. Make sure you know what is normal for you.
For some women, breasts become enlarged, tender and lumpy just before a period, and then return to normal once the period is over, others may have swollen breasts throughout their cycle. Age, pregnancy, Hormone Replacement Therapy and the menopause can all affect the size and feel of your breasts.
You can help yourself by checking your breasts at least once a month from the age of 20. At this early age, any small lumps are probably just normal breast glands and ducts. Over time you will get used to how your breasts normally feel so that you're able to tell if a new lump appears.
Check your breasts a few days after your period when your breasts aren't so sore. If you don't have periods or if they come at varying times, check your breasts at the same time every month.
Why not try doing it in the shower, using your hands to wash yourself rather than a sponge or flannel? Just a few minutes every now and then could help save your life. Look for these changes, and remember, if you are in any doubt visit your doctor.
Start by standing in front of a mirror. Look at your breasts with your arms at your side, with your arms raised behind your head, and with your arms on your hips and your chest muscles flexed.
Next, lie down with a pillow under your left shoulder. Put your left hand behind your head and feel your left breast with the pads of the 3 middle fingers on your right hand.
Start at the outer edge and work around your breast in circles, getting closer to your nipple with each circle.
Be sure to include the area up to your collarbone and out to your armpit. You have lymph nodes in this area. Cancer can spread to lymph node tissue. Do the same thing to your right breast with a pillow under your right shoulder.
After you've finished checking your breast, squeeze your nipple gently and look for discharge (fluid coming out of the nipple).