Did you know that every year nearly 55,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK — the equivalent of one person every 10 minutes and a ratio of 1 in every 8 women in the UK developing Breast Cancer (Breastcancercare.org.uk). Those are some shocking statistics and believe me I could not believe those figures when I read them. So I really felt that it was important to bring awareness to people who are unsure about the ins and outs of the condition.

On today’s show I was joined by two experts Dr Maisam Fazel, Consultant Onco Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon with a unique background in both breast and plastic surgery and Dr Amrita Kumar, Consultant Breast Radiologist at King Edward VII Hospital in Windsor, part of Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust since 2013.

Dr Kumar stated that Breast Cancer was something that could be passed down from relative to relative due to a defective gene, but this is not always the case and people do not have to panic if their parent or grandparent had or has breast cancer. She said that one should eat well, pay attention to their diet and avoid smoking and drinking excessively.

I also read as part of my research that using some deodorants could cause breast cancer. Dr Fazel quickly answered that that was not the case and that there were plenty of claims out there which have not been proven.

Dr Fazel said that breast cancer, if spotted early, had a high rate of success in full recovery. He also spoke keenly about the new NHS iniative where they encouraged more women whilst having their cancer removed to have a reconstructed breast operation at the same time, which would mean women would not feel like they had lost their breast from the operation. One would be removed and when the patient would wake up from surgery they would not feel as though it has gone. However he did state that in some cases patients could not have the surgery straight away due to their health and some chose not to, due to fear but that the option was always open for them and they could do it at a later date.

Many people don’t know what causes breast cancer, however, Cancer Research UK says that it can be passed down in the family and hormonal factors can also play a big risk. Hormonal factors include starting periods late, getting menopause early, higher levels of hormones in one’s blood after menopause, having no children or having them late in life and also taking HRT (Hormone Replacement therapy) and the contraceptive pill. These are all factors that can increase a person’s chances of getting breast cancer.

Here are some of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer in men and in women, if you experience any of these then you MUST consult a Doctor immediately:

  • A lump or thickening in or near the breast or under the arm
  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Discharge from the nipple or tenderness at the nipple
  • Nipple pulled back into the breast
  • Ridges, dimpling or pitting in the breast (skin looks like an orange peel)
  • Changes such as redness, warmth, ulceration, scaly or swollen skin on the breast, nipple or the coloured area around the nipple, called the areola