Most of us assume that breast cancer won’t happen to us. It is out of the realm of possibility, it seems. We live our lives, have our ups and downs, but nothing as terrible as cancer could possibly affect us. It is a fantasy we happily engage in. It makes us feel safe and secure. 
 
Yet, by ignoring the threat of breast cancer, we may do more harm than good. Of course, we shouldn’t live our lives worrying to the point of anxiety. But it is incredibly important that we understand the signs and symptoms of breast cancer to catch it in time. 
 
Sarah Harding’s story 
In August 2020, Sarah Harding—a singer with Girls Aloud—bravely announced that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer at the relatively young age of 38. This naturally caused an outpouring of support and well wishes from people on social media. 
 
Breast cancer is an insidious disease that can affect anyone. This is all the more apparent when cases such as Sarah’s, are put in the spotlight. In her statement, Sarah Harding says, “It doesn't even feel real writing this”. Sarah’s diagnosis should serve as a reminder that cancer does not discriminate. While the risk of developing breast cancer increases with age, Sarah is proof that it can affect women regardless of age or social status. Breast cancer remains the most common form of cancer in the UK. 
 
Sarah’s cancer also spread to other parts of her body. As a result, she required chemotherapy. It is therefore important that you are breast aware to stop any potential progression of the disease. Be vigilant of any signs and abnormalities, including lumps under your breast. 
 
What to look for 
In addition to checking for lumps, you should note the size and shape of your breasts and the condition of your nipples. Read on for further information on what to look for when conducting a self-examination of your breasts. 
 
Understanding the risks of breast cancer is an important first step to being breast aware. Lifestyle choices, such as smoking and dietary habits, can be risk factors for breast cancer and other diseases. A family history of cancer can also increase the risk. You can learn more about the link between breast cancer and genetics
 
Treatment for breast cancer, such as chemotherapy, can affect a woman’s fertility. Therefore, it is better to spot the cancer at the earliest stage possible. This will also increase the chances of survival. 
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