- Breast Cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK.
- More than 1 in 10 breast cancer cases are diagnosed late in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
- Breast cancer survival rate has doubled in the past 40 years.
- Although not as common, men can get breast cancer too.
- Around 2,300 women in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer aged 39 or under.
'"When my sister received her diagnosis in back 2010, I had never known anyone with Breast Cancer, or any kind of cancer for that matter. I was only 20 at the time and she had just hit 30. My initial thoughts were, “Isn’t cancer something that older people get?” and “She’s way too young, they must have got it wrong”. The reality is a woman's risk of breast cancer throughout their 20s is 1 in 1,732 and 1 in 227 in their 30s. When you put that into perspective, it's shocking as it represents many, many women.
Nothing prepares you for hearing those words, “I’m sorry, it’s cancer” and what follows. I can only speak as someone who is on the side-line, watching my sister go through her journey; the treatment and its effects both physically and emotionally.
If caught early, the 5-year Breast Cancer survival rate is 100%. If that isn’t enough of a reason to check your breasts, I don’t know what is. So, if you take away anything from reading about my sister's experience, please let it be this:
- Know your body, get used to checking your breasts as often as you can.
- If you feel any changes, see your GP. They are used to examining breasts and can quickly rule out cancer or refer you for a scan.
- Communicate with your family and friends, tell them that you're checking your breasts frequently, it will encourage them to do the same.
10 years on, my sister is still very much here but now undergoing treatment for secondary breast cancer which is, I'm sorry to say, now a part of her life.'