Spotting Skin Changes Early Could Save Your Life

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A lump or area of ​​thickened tissue on the breast is often the first sign of breast cancer, but skin changes can also be a symptom of the most common cancer in the UK.

More than 55,000 women and around 370 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the UK, according to Cancer Research UK. Early diagnosis sees 98% of people with stage one cancer survive more than five years after diagnosis, but it is incurable once it progresses to stage four.

Catching it early means knowing the shape, size and texture of your breasts, as well as having routine breast exams. Knowing what feels normal for your body is crucial to recognizing the signs of a disease that kills more than 10,000 people a year.

READ MORE: Pain that some think is ‘normal’ may be a sign of an incurable disease

The NHS encourages people to see a GP if they notice any change in the skin on their breasts or nipples. The website says this could include “a change in the way your skin looks or feels, such as wrinkling or dimpling, a rash or redness”, or a “rash (such as eczema), scabs, scaly or itchy skin or redness on or around your nipple”.

Cancer Research UK said: “The skin may look like orange peel or the texture may look different. This may be caused by other breast conditions. But ask your doctor to check anything that is not normal. for you.”

You should see a GP if you notice any of the following, according to the NHS website:

  • a new lump or area of ​​thickened tissue in either breast that wasn’t there before
  • a change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
  • a discharge of fluid from one of your nipples
  • a lump or swelling in one of your armpits
  • a change in the way your skin looks or feels, such as wrinkles or bumps, a rash, or redness
  • a rash (such as eczema), scabs, scaly or itchy skin, or redness on or around your nipple
  • a change in the appearance of your nipple, such as sinking into your breast

Most breast lumps are not cancerous, but rather indicate cysts or normal areas of bumps. Always have any bumps or skin changes checked out by a doctor who can determine if it is a health issue.

The NHS Breast Screening Program invites all women, and some trans and non-binary people, aged 50-70 for screening every 3 years. Participating in an invitation could save your life.

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