We think we know what the signs of breast cancer are until it comes to checking our own breasts – then we’re not so sure.
Is that a lump I can feel? Should I be worried about the dimpled skin there? What exactly am I feeling for? What are the signs?
Those were exactly the concerns that led to the creation of the ‘Know Your Lemons campaign, which began in 2003 and has now reached more than 7.3 million people on Facebook alone.
With this in mind, health promotion specialists from the Pennine Breast Screening Unit, part of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, will be hosting an awareness event at the Bradford Royal Infirmary’s main entrance on Monday, 27 November from 10am to 4pm.
They will be asking members of the public and staff – male and female, what is normal? And will also use the brilliant visual device of lemons to help people know what to look out for when checking their breasts every month.
Health promotion specialists Julie Hodgins and Sadie Greenwood, from the Pennine Unit’s health promotion team, will be on hand to answer any queries and provide information.
Miss Hodgins said: “The egg box of lemons is a playful, friendly image which might help women overcome their fear of the disease.
“The campaign has now been used to educate people in the US, Spain, Turkey and Lebanon – and translated into 16 different languages, so it definitely works!
“Being aware of what your breasts feel like could be a lifesaver if something irregular pops up that you need to get checked out.”
The Foundation Trust provides breast screening to all eligible women across Bradford, Airedale, Calderdale, Huddersfield and Dewsbury.
Last year, 335 women from across the district were diagnosed with breast cancer.
Mrs Greenwood continued: “Breast screening is usually offered to women from 47 to 73 years old, who are registered with a GP, by invite once every three years.
“Appointments are either at the Pennine Breast Imaging Department at St Luke’s Hospital or via one of the mobile screening units that tour the district throughout the year.
“If you receive an appointment for screening it is vital that you take up the offer as it could save your life. If breast cancer is picked up early enough it is very treatable.”
The team have also joined Facebook recently, so if you would like to keep up-to-date with the latest news or what areas the team’s mobile screening units are visiting, then please like ‘Bradford and Pennine Breast Screening’.
Currently, screening sessions in Wrose, Huddersfield and Keighley are drawing to a close and the mobile screening units will soon be moving to Cleckheaton, Skelmanthorpe and Dewsbury. A fourth screening unit will remain in Shipley until spring 2018.
All eligible women in these four areas will be invited for breast screening, so if you receive an invitation it’s important you take it up.
Missed your appointment? Changed your mind? No problem, give the unit a call on 01274 365521 as you will be able to take up an appointment at either St Luke’s Hospital or another of our venues.
Nearly 70 per cent of women screened receive the all-clear, while others receive further tests, some of whom may require further treatment.
Julie added: “The evidence suggests that if breast screening picks up the disease early, usually while it is too small to be felt, treatment can be more successful leading to a better outcome for our patients.”
You can also view this blog about what to expect at a breast screening: http://wommen.org.uk/blog/2017/04/12/your-mammogram-appointment/