Liverpool consultant tells us why awareness around breast cancer is so important, in the wake of Sarah Harding’s death
2 years ago
Picture – Simon Burchell/ Feature Flash
Following the sad news that Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding has died from breast cancer, we are reminded why awareness of the disease is so important.
The singer, aged 39, died on Sunday, just over a year after revealing she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, in 2020.
Sarah Harding’s mum shared the news of her daughter’s death on Instagram, saying: “She slipped away peacefully this morning.”
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, with around 150 people in the UK diagnosed with it every day.
Sarah Harding went public with her diagnosis, in the hope that doing so would help create more awareness of the disease.
Consultant Breast Surgeon for Liverpool University Hospitals, Lee Martin, said:
“Sarah was diagnosed with secondary or metastatic breast cancer.
“This means the cancer spread from her breast to other parts of the body, becoming incurable.
“While it cannot be cured, there are treatments that can help control certain forms of the disease for some time and relieve symptoms to help people live well for as long as possible.
“This is why it is so important to diagnose breast cancer as early as possible.”
Almost nine in ten women survive breast cancer for 5 years or more when it is detected early.
Breast cancer starts in the breast tissue and although it is more common among older women, young women and men can also be affected by it.
For women, having a good understanding of how your menstrual cycle affects your breasts, will help you identify any unusual changes.
Lumps in breast tissue can be in response to normal cyclical hormone changes, which is why it is important to check your breasts regularly.
Lee, said: “It is important to be breast aware.
“Everyone’s breasts are different, so what is normal for one person might not be normal for another person, it is important to know what is normal for you.
“It is best to check your breasts 5 days after your period, as this is when your breasts are least lumpy.”
Lee suggested checking your breasts once a month whilst in the shower, or when you are applying moisturiser.
He said the most common symptom of breast cancer is a lump and that although most lumps are benign, it is important to get checked out in person by your GP.
The other way to detect breast cancer is through screening, where doctors use a mammogram X-ray picture of the breast to look for cancer.
Screening for breast cancer is currently only offered every 3 years, to women aged between 50-70 years old.
Lee said: “Everyone should attend screenings for breast cancer, when they are offered them.”
However, anyone who is concerned about a change in their breast can speak to their GP and arrange a consultation.
The Pink Ribbon Foundation supports UK charities which help those who have been affected by breast cancer.
They have created a self check guide to help you check your breasts at home.