As we approach the end of October and are surrounded by the traditional autumnal colours such as orange and brown, my thoughts and reflections are always coloured with pink. That is due October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Breast cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow in the breast tissue and is the most common cancer in the UK. Although it mainly affects and is associated with women, men can get it too.
Although it is more common in older women, it can develop at any time with current statistics showing 1 in 7 women in the UK develop breast cancer at some point in their lives.
Like many cancers, survival for breast cancer has improved dramatically in recent years, especially if it is diagnosed early. That is why regularly checking your breasts, boobs, baps, whatever you want to call them, is essential. Knowing your body and trusting your instincts is important.
In the past month, I have been pleased to see the presence, awareness and activities supported by and in aid of amazing charities like Coppafeel https://coppafeel.org/, which have been set up to help women understand breast cancer, the signs to look out for and how to live with a diagnosis.
Although the UK has a good early detection and screening programmes in place and treatments have improved over the last five years, sometimes getting the right diagnosis and treatment does not happen.
The reason why this is a cause emotionally, as well as physically, close to my heart is because of my experience acting for individuals dealing with issues surrounding delays, mistakes and neglect in diagnosis and treatment from their GP, hospital or both, and witnessing the subsequent impact on them and their families.
In an ideal world, there would be no cases such as these, but it is a sad fact that these situations, even when they are in the minority of cases, do occur and people need support and guidance on how to go about getting the help they and their loved ones need, both in the present and future.
Knowing your body could save your life, so PLEASE check your boobs!