Last week my friend started chemotherapy to shrink a large lump in her breast, found by a routine scan. A few weeks ago, she didn’t even know she had cancer. As she says, “this wasn’t in the plan”.
None of us can predict what will come our way, but it shows the importance of having those scans when the letter comes through, especially as breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, affecting one in every eight women.
Common Signs of Breast Cancer
Most of us know we need to check for lumps, but there are other signs of cancer. The charity Breast Cancer Care recommend making an appointment to see your GP if you have any of these signs –
· a change in size or shape
· a lump or area that feels thicker than the rest of the breast
· a change in skin texture such as puckering or dimpling (like the skin of an orange)
redness or rash on the skin and/or around the nipple
your nipple has become pulled in or looks different, for example changed its position or shape
liquid that comes from the nipple without squeezing
pain in your breast or your armpit that’s there all or almost all the time
a swelling in your armpit or around your collarbone
Reducing the Risk of Breast Cancer
The main risk factors for breast cancer are age, being female, and family history. We can’t control those, but there are some things we can do to reduce our risk.
· Maintain a healthy weight
· Take some exercise
· Avoid alcohol or stay within these recommended limits
Can Acupuncture Help?
Whilst no doubt a life saver, cancer care can bring unwanted side effects, including fatigue, hot flushes, and nausea.
Cancer care is an area in which Western Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine complement each other well. Acupuncture can make changes to biochemistry that help to reduce these symptoms along with the stress and anxiety that cancer naturally brings. This British Acupuncture Council factsheet gives more information on how acupuncture can help by making changes in the biochemistry.
Jane has a BSc in acupuncture. She provides an acupuncture clinic for cancer patients on a voluntary basis every Thursday evening at the Sir Robert Ogden MacMillan Centre at St James’s University Hospital, Leeds.
For more information about how acupuncture can help you contact Jane
Tel 07739 417165