Dr Nick Tupper blog: Going to battle against breast cancer

BREAST CANCER AWARENESS 7 DSC_0837“I can’t believe it’s one year since my first breast cancer treatment. I’m a cancer survivor.”

I recently spotted this message on twitter from Councillor Pat Knight from Hatfield. It was great to see.

It highlights how Doncaster people are standing up to cancer and are not frightened to say so.

I know Councillor Knight well, she chairs Doncaster’s Health & Wellbeing Board and this week many of you will start to see her face appear on thousands of medicine bags across the borough as part of our new breast cancer awareness campaign.

We’re launching the Be breast aware. Pass it on. campaign at our CCG monthly Governing Body meeting on Thursday, where Councillor Knight will also talk about her experience of the cancer treatment and care she has received from the NHS.

We’re continuing our sporting theme with this latest campaign. Doncaster Belles FC are supporting us to get the message across that: ‘If you are aware of any change in your breasts from what is normal for you, tell your doctor without delay.’

Two Belles players – Sue Smith and Kasia Lipka – appear in the campaign poster, along with Dr Pat Barbour from The Medical Centre in Doncaster, who is GP champion for the campaign.

You’ll see the image in various media over the coming weeks and in local GP surgeries and pharmacies. The Belles have also agreed to let us use their game against Oxford United at the Keepmoat on Saturday 3 October to highlight the signs and symptoms of the disease. It’s wonderful to see a local team backing our work in such a positive way and follows on from our recent prostate, bowel and lung health campaigns with Doncaster Rovers.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in England, with over 41,000 cases being diagnosed each year, including around 250 new cases each year in Doncaster. It’s indiscriminate, targeting women of all ages, as well as some men.

I’m sure you’ll know at least one person who has had breast cancer, and maybe more? The good news is that if detected early it’s more treatable, so finding it quickly could be a lifesaver.

Breast cancer survival tends to be lower in older women as research shows they are more likely to put off making an appointment with their GP if they suspect they may have the symptoms.

Other research indicates that older women have less knowledge about the other signs of breast cancer. They often assume that a lump is the only sign of the disease.

In reality, there are many possible signs of breast cancer, including:

  • A lump or thickening in your armpit
  • Changes to the skin of your breast
  • Changes to the shape or size of your breast
  • Nipple changes
  • Nipple discharge
  • Pain in your breast
  • Any other unusual or persistent changes to your breast

So please make a note of what to look for and pass it on.

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