11:56 27 October 2009
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, with around 45,500 women and 300 men diagnosed each year.
Thanks to earlier diagnosis, new treatments and improved awareness, survival rates have significantly increased in the last 20 years.
While the disease can strike at any time, there are things you can do to lower your risk.
Lose weight - Being overweight can increase your risk of breast cancer, especially after the menopause
Get moving Research shows that regular exercise and physical activity could reduce your risk of breast cancer by 25%.
Have children Leaving it until after your mid 30s or having no children can increase your risk.
Eat healthily make sure you have a low-fat, high-fibre diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables for overall good health and to lower your cancer risk. Reduce your alcohol intake too.
Breastfeed where possible Researchers have found that breastfeeding may reduce a woman's risk of breast cancer. Breastfeed for as long as you can too, as your baby grows.
Get to know your body. Follow the breast awareness 5-point code for early detection:
1. Know what is normal for you
2. Know what changes to look and feel for
3. Look and feel
4. Report any changes to your GP without delay
5. Attend routine breast screening if you are aged 50 or over
Changes to be aware of and require further investigation include: a lump or thickening which is different to the rest of the breast tissue continuous pain in one part of the breast or armpit if one breast becomes larger or lower a nipple becomes inverted or changes shape or position skin changes including puckering or dimpling Swelling under or around the armpit.
Check your family history
If two or more members of your immediate family have been diagnosed with breast cancer, talk to your GP. They may suggest genetic screening.
Breast cancer is not a death sentence
Researchers are developing new treatments all the time which will help save the lives of more women and men.
How your money helps vital research
£1 buys 20 pairs of protective gloves required for researchers to conduct testing
£2.50 will buy 50 microscope slides for scientists to examine cells in minute detail
£8 provides a day's worth of lab chemicals used in developing treatment research
£15 will buy 5x80 test tube rack to store the vital research
£20 will buy 500 test tubes so lab workers can carry out their research
£50 will provide a week's worth of tissue culture to grow cells used in experiments
£1,000 provides the basic equipment that a researcher needs to carry out scientific experiments
£20,000 will pay for a pilot grant to explore whether a particular line of enquiry is worth pursuing, which helps develop new treatments
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