October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual event that cancer charities hope will help to save lives by ensuring patients can spot the signs of disease early and encouraging fundraising for research.
Like any kind of cancer, early diagnosis is the key to survival, so those getting private treatment for breast cancer could give themselves the very best chance by knowing how to spot any anomaly and getting checked out promptly.
This year’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month has a particular focus on secondary breast cancer. Breakthrough Breast Cancer has said 61,000 patients in the UK have been diagnosed with the condition.
Secondary breast cancer is defined as cancer that has spread well beyond the breast to other parts of the body by the time it has been diagnosed. By that stage it is incurable, but not untreatable, with the priority of treatment being to sustain life as long as possible while maintaining a reasonable quality of life too.
This means the focus of research is better treatments for the condition that can lengthen life and a greater general understanding of the condition.
As ever, the month will see plenty of fundraising efforts and events, with lots of pink items being worn along the way. But the best thing that can come out of it for today’s patients – as opposed to those who may benefit from future medical developments – is awareness of the need to carry out self-examination and what the possible signs of a problem could be.
Around one in seven women in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. But those who receive the diagnosis early can survive through surgery and, if required, chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
That is why it is vital to get screened and checked for lumps, as well as seeking the best treatment as soon as you can.