“When I Googled my symptoms, I only had one so I thought I was fine,” Stephanie explained, but then a lump developed a few weeks later – and it turned out to be a cancerous tumour. “I’ve never seen my husband cry, but he cried when I was diagnosed,” she said. So far, Stephanie has had six months of chemotherapy, reconstruction, and radiotherapy.
Hoping to “make sure everyone… is checking their breasts”, Stephanie is on mission to get women to be breast aware – and she’s not the only one.
Appearing on ITV’s This Morning on Monday, September 20, Dr Chris discussed breast cancer awareness.
You only need a “mirror and hands” to check your breasts, said Dr Chris.
An inspection involves standing in front of a mirror, with your hands by your side, looking at the breasts.
This also needs to be reported if this is seen in the skin when you lean forward.
Breast awareness also involves checking what your breasts feel like, which can change during the menstrual cycle, which is why it helps to check them the same day every month.
“Get to know what your breasts feel like normally,” said Dr Chris, who added: “Sadly, today 150 women are told they have breast cancer.”
Symptoms of breast cancer, as pointed out by the NHS:
- A new lump or area of thickened tissue in either breast that was not there before
- A change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
- A discharge of fluid from either of your nipples
- A lump or swelling in either of your armpits
- A change in the look or feel of your skin, such as puckering or dimpling, a rash or redness
- A rash (like eczema), crusting, scaly or itchy skin or redness on or around your nipple
- A change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast.
Dr Chris highlighted a “breakthrough” new drug treatment for advanced breast cancer.
The new drug – Enhertu (developed by AstraZeneca) – showed incredible results from its clinical trials.
In the research, 57 percent of women treated with Enhertu had no progression of advanced breast cancer 12 months later.
“This is a special moment,” said Dr Chris. “As of today, Monday [September, 20], it can transform discussions physicians are going to have with their patients.”
Enhrue has been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
A “good discount deal” has been made with the NHS, which has been described by Dr Chris as a “major step forward” in breast cancer treatment.
“[We’re] talking about advanced breast cancer that might spread about the body,” emphasised Dr Chris.
Women between the ages of 50 to 70 will be invited for a free mammogram in the UK, every few years, which can help to detect breast cancer.
Meanwhile, Stephanie organised a fundraising event called the Big Boobie Bonanza, which will be held at Trunkwell House Hotel in Beech Hill Road, Reading – on September 26, from 11am to 3pm – to raise money for charities Macmillan and CoppaFeel.