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Be breast aware to boost your chance of beating cancer

ABOUT 2,500 women are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer in Ireland over the next 12 months. Breast Cancer Awareness Month, running in October, aims to make more women breast aware.

This means knowing what is normal for you so that if any unusual change occurs, you will recognise it. The sooner you notice a change the better, because if cancer is found early, treatment is more likely to be successful. Get into the habit of looking at and feeling your breasts from time to time.

What changes should you be aware of?

A change in size or shape - it may be that one breast has become larger.

Changes in the nipple - in direction or shape, pulled in or flattened nipple.

Changes on or around the nipple - rash, flaky or crusted skin.

Changes in the skin - dimpling, puckering or redness.

'Orange peel' appearance of the skin caused by unusually enlarged pores.

Swelling in your armpit or around your collarbone.

A lump, any size, or thickening in your breast.

Constant pain in one part of your breast or armpit.

Early diagnosis is a key to surviving breast cancer. It's estimated that Irish women have a one in 12 chance of developing breast cancer in their lifetime.

If you do notice any change in your breasts, see your GP as soon as possible. Remember that most breast changes are not cancer and are harmless.

For more information visit www.cancer.ie