Being aware of the potential early signs of the disease is so important and early detection can really be vital.
Dr Hillary appeared on Good Morning Britain to reiterate this point and even said one of Sarah’s early symptoms was a lump under her arm rather than the usual lump on the breast.
Most believe a lump on the breast to be the major sign to spot, which is why it is so important to do a more thorough check.
Doctors told Sarah her breast cancer had spread to her spine and that she was unlikely to see Christmas this year.
Many friends and celebrities have been left shocked and saddened by the news of Sarah’s death with fans left devastated.
Now women are urging each other to check for lumps, and to act quickly if they find anything.
But her case was very “unusual”, according to GMB regular Dr Hillary, who has explained how most women who die from breast cancer or develop it are usually in their 60s and 70s.
“We hear a lot about breast cancer in younger women because it’s so shocking when it happens, but about five per cent of breast cancer is found in under 40s, and very, very rare in 20s.”
“39 is still very young; the majority of women who die from breast cancer or develop breast cancer are 60s and 70s and beyond, so this is an unusual case.
“But when it is diagnosed in younger women, it tends to be later stage and more aggressive.”
According to Jones, signs of breast cancer can include:
- Change in breast size
- Change in shape
- Change in texture
- Puckering of the skin
- In pulling of the nipple
- Any discharge.
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Dr Jones discussed how Sarah’s unusual early sign was a lump under her arm or the lymph glands.
“If in doubt just go and get it checked out,” he stressed.
“I know that people are finding it difficult to get appointments with their GP face-to-face at the moment, but cancer cases are preauthorised.
“If you think that you could have anything that is even suspicious like that then you will be seen face-to-face by the doctor and referred urgently for investigation and treatment.
“It is absolutely paramount and vital.”
Breast tissue isn’t only found in a person’s breasts.
It can also reach all the way up to the collarbone and underneath the armpit, so this whole area should be checked each time too.
This is the same for both men and women.
Swelling may start before a person feels a lump with sensations including pain, a prickly feeling or tenderness.
The causes of breast cancer are not fully understood, making it difficult to say why one woman may develop breast cancer and another may not.
However, there are risk factors known to affect your likelihood of developing breast cancer including age, family history, dense breast tissue, exposure to oestrogen or the contraceptive pill.
To self-check for breast cancer use your hands and move the pads of your fingers around your breast gently covering the entire breast area and armpit.
Use light, medium, and firm pressure; squeezing the nipple to check for any discharge or lumps.
If you notice anything unusual speak to your health care professional immediately.
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