Breast Cancer Awareness Month – getting back on track

Each October, the importance of increasing awareness for breast cancer support and research is given a spotlight on the global stage. Volunteers can sign up to help in a number of ways, such as lending an understanding ear to people who want to talk or by giving information on living with the condition. For other ways to get involved, fundraising and campaigning is critical for finding cures and treatments.

One in eight

Approximately one in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. It’s the most common type of cancer in the UK and it affects mostly people over the age of 50, but it can develop at earlier ages too. Breast cancer is rarer in men, with roughly one in every thousand cases affecting a male. That’s around 370 men a year compared to 55,000 women.

There are several physical symptoms to look out for to help you detect breast cancer. When discovered early, there’s a good chance it can be treated successfully. Regular inspections should be carried out at home and if you spot any of the following, you should contact a GP for a thorough examination:

  • A lump in either of your breasts
  • A change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
  • Discharge from your nipples, which may be streaked with blood
  • A lump or swelling in your armpits
  • Dimpling on the skin of your breasts
  • Rash on or around your nipple
  • A change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast

You’re more at risk of developing breast cancer as you get older but there are other factors to be aware of. Family history of breast cancer, a previous diagnosis of either a cancerous or benign lump in the breasts, being tall, overweight, obese, and drinking alcohol can all increase your chances of having it.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Each October, the importance of increasing awareness for breast cancer support and research is given a spotlight on the global stage. Volunteers can sign up to help in a number of ways, such as lending an understanding ear to people who want to talk or by giving information on living with the condition. For other ways to get involved, fundraising and campaigning is critical for finding cures and treatments.

The colour pink is synonymous with breast cancer and purchasing a pink ribbon is a simple way to raise money. Or on October 23rd, you can join in with the Wear it Pink event, where everyone is encouraged to wear pink clothing for donations.

Breast Cancer Now also provide inspiration for fundraising ideas that you can do around the home. For example, spring cleaning and selling unwanted items, hosting charity quiz nights and giving up chocolate or alcohol for a month. Elsewhere, Breast Cancer UK is hosting a virtual fitness festival on October 25. And it’s not just October – there are plenty of other events to get involved with throughout the year.

Coronavirus impact

With a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic nearing, most of us have been affected one way or another. COVID-19 related deaths, lockdown restrictions and the state of the economy make up a big portion of our daily news. However, it has also created difficult circumstances for a large number of people who need health support. This year in particular, educating people about breast cancer is essential and will help change lives.

A report published by Breast Cancer Now details how the coronavirus crisis has impacted vital processes by slowing progress all around. An estimated one million women have been unable to attend their screenings so far. Usually, around 19,000 breast cancer diagnoses are made every year, but with a significant backlog of appointments, it’s likely many will be missed. People who have been diagnosed have also faced long delays or cancellations for treatments and monitoring scans.

Face-to-face support services and research was also paused at the start of the pandemic. Feelings of isolation and anxiety in people living with cancer and their families have risen. However, alternative one-to-one support was launched online and now research has started again with a reduced expenditure.

Carrying on the fight

A collective effort is needed to gain back the momentum which all but stopped as a result of the coronavirus. Being cautious and concerned about catching COVID-19 caused some people to become reluctant to make an appointment with their GP to get their symptoms checked. Likewise, referral rates to specialists plummeted to limit hospital visits where patients risked being infected.

Now, the NHS have started running their own campaigns to get more people to come back and check for cancer. Referrals are increasing, and in England up until March 2021, women will be sent open invitations to call and make appointments for breast cancer screenings.

Along with the key stages of living with the disease, from diagnosis, education, support and treatment, there also needs to be an element of hope. When progress starts to fall behind or an issue is forgotten about, it’s easy to lose sight of success. By continuing to spread awareness of breast cancer, growing community support and learning of research breakthroughs, it keeps hope alive.

Using CareDocs

If you are caring for someone who is undergoing cancer treatment, our easy-to-complete assessments will automatically generate a tailored plan to support with all aspects of day-to-day care. Therapy needs, pain management, nutrition monitoring, skin care and emotional wellbeing are among categories of assessment that may be relevant. To help you provide a person-centred approach to your service we encourage you to include as much detail as possible.

For more information about how CareDocs can make a difference for your care home, get in touch today to learn more. Call us on 0330 056 3333 or email on SalesGroup@caredocs.co.uk.

Sources

Originally published on October 8, 2020

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