Let's Talk About Boobs

Updated: Oct 6, 2021

Cancer is not always an easy topic to discuss, and I'm sure that most, if not all of you reading this post would have experienced someone you know battling cancer. This month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and I caught up with Madeleine Matthews, Fundraising coordinator for The Primrose Foundation to talk about the importance of raising breast awareness.

Madeleine explained; The Primrose Foundation is a local breast care charity based in Plymouth, supported by local people, for local people.

“For over 25 years the support we have received locally has enabled us to fund essential equipment, research, and education. We work with the whole of the Breast care team at University Hospitals to make our patient’s experience as comfortable as possible”

Throughout the year, awareness of breast disease, including cancer is so important, but when it comes to the month of October, it really gives us the chance to shout it out to being more breast aware.

So why have “Breast Cancer Awareness Month”? It’s a really good question! The movement of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is something that aims to increase the awareness of knowledge of both men and women in order to reduce the stigma that is linked to the signs, symptoms, and treatment of breast cancer.

Just because you get a referral, doesn't always mean you have breast cancer! It can be scary to hear you are having a referral and associating this with cancer. But I feel for this you must have a positive outlook. It doesn't necessarily mean you have breast cancer, but I see it as an opportunity to be safer for your own health. You may be referred for these reasons:

- breast pain

- nipple discharge

- breast abscesses or infections

- implant integrity

So all the while the service DOES provide a cancer diagnosis plus care/treatment The Primrose Foundation does offer other important services such as a routine mammogram or a family history screening.

So why check your boobs (gents, I am talking to you too)? It is never too early to develop breast cancer, although it is very rare, all genders have breast tissue. I have also found out that from research, breast cancer is not always hereditary and only 10% of breast cancers are caused by hereditary factors.

As a 20 year old, I'm still fairly young to be "considered" the age for when breast cancer usually occurs but just because it's more rare at my age, doesn't mean that I still shouldn't check myself to be safe than sorry.

  • In females aged 25-49, breast cancer is the most common cancer, accounting for more than 4 in 10 (44%) of all cases in 2014-2016.

And although breast cancer screening is great, it still is very limited. If you are invited to one, please please please go to it! It's a really important opportunity that is not offered to everyone until a certain age, and for some this could be too late. In the United Kingdom, only women aged 47-50 years old will be invited for a screening which usually takes places around every three years. But even if you're lucky enough to be invited for a mammogram, it is still so important to check in between.

Only 54% of women would immediately visit their doctor upon discovering early signs and symptoms – Coppafeel

This figure is just over half, and I feel being breast-aware should be a monthly habit. There is no need to become too obsessive with it but having a routine could help you! By doing this, you will also have more confidence in yourself to do this more often. Plus, it's really important to remember that everyone's body is different and only you know what is different for you. For example, if you get periods, you'll probably notice a change in your breasts as the hormones change. I would like to remind readers too that breast tissue is not only found in your actual boobs. It is important to have a feel around your armpits and collarbone area - so check under your armpits. And if you are in any doubt about your body, then check with your doctor. For some it is daunting but it's so important we take that extra measure to look after our bodies and us.

Men, I am not forgetting you either!

We all have breast tissue…guys, girls and non-binary. It may be a surprising statistic to hear that around 400 men a year get breast cancer. It's not common as it is in females, but it is still important to check your pecks too guys. The symptoms of breast cancer are very similar in men as they are in women:

  • Swelling in the chest or under the arm.

  • A pulled-in (inverted) nipple.

  • Liquid (discharge) that comes from the nipple - this may be blood stained

  • Sores (ulcers) on the chest.

Guys... if you do experience these symptoms, please go make an appointment with your GP to get it checked out!

I really wanted to work with The Primrose Foundation. They are a small local charity and I feel that as a small charity, funding is even more essential. The Primrose Foundation are a charity based at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth. It was originally set up 24 years ago via an appeal in order to help develop a “one-stop clinic” in Plymouth. This was to create a one-day assessment that would be carried out by various breast cancer services concluding whether further investigations would be needed or not for a patient.

The foundation has a wonderful vision – they want to help, preserve and protect the life of people in local areas, and achieve this by supporting the continued provision and enhancement of the services that is delivered by the Breast Care Centre at Derriford Hospital.

However, the Primrose Foundation need your help! As a small local charity they need all the help they can get. A simple follow on social media and raising awareness of the charity goes a long mile. The year 2020 really hit the charity hard. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic a 60% fall in donations occurred – they need you now more than ever! The charity are looking for raise money to fund three essential posts within the charity. These are:

- A part time reconstructive support nurse – to look after patients who require immediate reconstructive surgery

- A part time oncology support nurse – to support the existing Oncology Nurse Specialist Team by providing essential specialist support to patients receiving treatment

- A part time clinical psychologist – support Primrose patients in various breast pathways, providing support and advice according to the patients needs

They cannot fund these positions without the essential help from us, and there is so many things we can do to help this wonderful charity. A simple donation goes a long way. If everyone reading this post would donate £5, with all these donations we together could fund something so important! If fundraising was something you were considering for the charity then these are some of the events you could hold:

- Coffee morning

- Charity lunch

- Cheese and wine evening

- Hold an auction

- Hold a pub quiz

- Hold a charity dinner and dance

- Or get fit the fun way – create your own obstacle course, hold a sports day or even a football match!

So let's talk about Breast Cancer Awareness Month, share what you know and raise lots for the charities that can save our lives.

If you wish to make a donation to The Primrose Foundation, please follow the below link


Or follow them on social media AND raise the awareness of them too! It would be great to see more people following and supporting them for everything they do! Thank you Primrose Foundation!!

Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/theprimrosefoundation/

Twitter - https://twitter.com/primroseunit

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/ThePrimroseFoundation/

Thank you so much to Kate’s Cakes and Bakes for the cupcakes! https://www.katescakesandbakes.com

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