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Know the symptoms of breast cancer


Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK and one in eight women will develop the disease in their lifetime.

The importance of being aware of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer is being highlighted this October as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a worldwide annual campaign involving thousands of organisations.

Dr Esther Appleby, a local GP and Lead for Cancer at NHS Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group, said

"Nearly 12 000 people die from breast cancer in the UK every year.  As with all cancers, early diagnosis of breast cancer means that treatment will be more effective resulting improved survival. It's really important to check your breast regularly and to see your GP if you notice any of the following;

  1. a change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
  2. discharge from either of your nipples (which may be streaked with blood)
  3. a lump or swelling in either of your armpits
  4. dimpling on the skin of your breasts
  5. a rash on or around your nipple
  6. a change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast

Breast cancer can have a number of symptoms, but the first noticeable symptom is usually a lump or area of thickened breast tissue.
Breast pain isn't usually a symptom of breast cancer but this too should be checked.

Most breast changes are likely to be normal and most breast lumps aren't cancerous but it's always best to discuss them with your GP."

In 2011, just under 50,000 women were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.

Eight out of 10 women who get breast cancer are over 50, but younger women, and in rare cases, men, can also get it.

More than eight out of 10 (85%) people survive breast cancer beyond five years.

To find out how to check your breasts for any symptoms of breast cancer visit


For free, confidential support and information about breast cancer call the breast cancer care helpline on 0808 800 6000.

Anyone wanting to get involved in supporting breast cancer awareness month should visit or