Handy new shower card helps to catch breast cancer early

Monday, 9 November 2015 – Service Development and Screening
Handy new shower card helps to catch breast cancer early

A handy new shower card which shows women what signs to look out for when it comes to spotting possible breast cancer has been launched by the Public Health Agency and breast cancer charity Pretty ‘n’ Pink.

The waterproof card, which is designed to be kept in the bathroom or bedroom as a reminder to check your breasts regularly, carries top tips and images highlighting key symptoms.  

Dr Miriam McCarthy, Consultant in Public Health at the PHA, said: “Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women in Northern Ireland, but it is also one of the most treatable, particularly when detected early. 

“Many cases of breast cancer are found by women noticing an unusual change, taking the initiative and visiting their doctor without delay. The earlier breast cancer is found, the better the chance of curing it – so it’s important to know what to look out for and to make regular checks.

“While most people may know to look out for a lump, there are other changes that could point towards breast cancer, so it is vital that everyone is aware of them, as it could save their life.

“You can become familiar with your breasts by looking at, and feeling them in a way that is best for you, for example in the bath, shower, or when dressing. It is important to feel all parts of your breasts, including your nipples and in and around your armpits. 

“These handy shower cards not only provide the key information every woman needs to know, but also act as a reminder to undertake a check regularly.”

The shower cards have been developed by the PHA and Pretty ‘n’ Pink as part of the PHA’s Be Cancer Aware campaign, which aims to highlight the signs and symptoms of cancer and encourage people to contact their GP without delay if they find any of them.

Noeleen McErlane, Marketing Manager at Pretty ‘n’ Pink, said: “We’re delighted to work alongside the Public Health Agency on this initiative.  Early detection can save lives, and we would encourage all women to utilise these handy little cards and make breast self-examinations part of their regular routine, and go to see your GP should you notice any changes.”

Common symptoms to look out for include:  

Appearance:
        a change in size or outline of either breast, especially those caused by arm movement;
        any puckering, dimpling or redness of the skin;
        veins that stand out more than usual.
Feelings:
        pain or discomfort in one part of either breast or in your armpit, particularly if new and persistent.
Lumps:
        any lumps or thickening in either breast that feels different from the other breast;
        any swelling or lumps under your armpit or around your collarbone.
Nipple change:
        a nipple that has become pulled in, changed shape or shows signs of any discharge, bleeding, rash or crusted, flaky skin.

Dr Miriam McCarthy concluded: “If you experience any of the above symptoms, it is important that you see your GP. If breast cancer is diagnosed at the earliest stage of its development, it is estimated that after five years 99 out of 100 women diagnosed will still be alive, so early detection is very important. This waterproof card can be hung in your shower or bedroom as an easy reference and reminder for conducting breast self-exams regularly.”

Cards can be obtained free of charge by contacting Pretty ‘n’ Pink on (028) 9051 7043, or by logging onto the website at www.prettynpink.org.

Notes to the editor

Photo captions

Katie Larmour, patron of breast cancer charity Pretty ‘n’ Pink, launches a new breast cancer shower card which has been jointly produced with the Public Health Agency. The handy card shows women what signs to look out for when it comes to spotting possible breast cancer. Cards can be obtained free of charge by contacting Pretty ‘n’ Pink on (028) 90 51 7043, or by visiting the website at www.prettynpink.org