Listening – Talk on breast cancer

I’m here today because young girls don’t think of things like this its boys, parties, sex, drugs and drink. But what if I was to say that one in every nine of you sitting their rite now will develop breast cancer in your lifetime. Its shocking I know but it’s the truth. My aim today is to make you aware of breast cancer and on how to reduce the risk of you being one out of them nine people who develop it. Each year 39,200 women are newly diagnosed with breast cancer and although survival rates are improving on average 74 per cent of women are still alive five years later, too many women will die from this disease.

On average 12,800 women die from breast cancer each year. That’s 12,800 women a year. Age is the biggest risk factor for breast cancer with 80 per cent of all breast cancers occurring in post-menopausal women. However, you don’t get away with it that easy, approximately 8,000 pre-menopausal women are also diagnosed with the disease each year. Britain has one of the highest breast cancer death rates in the world. But all these statistics cannot begin to describe the impact that breast cancer has on the lives of those women who are affected by it and on their families, friends, and colleagues.

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Now your all probably sitting there not fully knowing what breast cancer is. Well here’s a quick science lesson. The human body is made up of billions of cells. Normally these cells grow divide and die in a controlled way to produce and replace the body’s tissue. If something disrupts this controlled process a cancer can grow. Breast cancer is caused when the cells that make up the breast tissue fail to die, instead they endlessly divide and eventually grow into tumours.

Once a tumour has formed some of the cells can break off and travel to other parts of the body and there form other tumours. Well there are several factors that could increase the risk of you developing breast cancer. These being, age as I told you before is the biggest risk factor. The older a woman the higher her risk of getting the disease. And im afraid that is one risk factor that none of us can avoid. A women’s family history is also a factor to be taken into consideration.

Women with a hereditary genetic susceptibility account for between five and ten per cent of all breast cancer cases. They tend to have a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer and these cancers usually occur in close family members. Then theirs not having children. Women who do not have children are ten to thirty per cent more likely to develop breast cancer. This is because hormones play an important role in the development of breast cancer, so having children decreases the risk. If you have a late first pregnancy is also big risk factor.

But that doesn’t mean that I want you all to go out now and get yourself pregnant so you will be reducing the risk of developing breast cancer. A woman who has her first child in her early thirties is sixty three per cent more likely to develop breast cancer than a woman who has her first child at twenty-two. Also starting your periods early puts you more at risk. If your periods began at the age of fifteen you are only have two-thirds the risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer than someone whoses periods started at the age of elevien.

With a decrease of seven per cent for each year that you’re period is delayed. And finally having a late menopause. Women who start their menopause after the age of fifty-five are twice as likely to develop breast cancer as those who experienced the menopause before the age of forty-five. Now I know all them facts may not apply to you rite now but they will do later in life. Enough of the bad information and on with the information that could elp you reduce the risk of developing breast cancer, as there is no way in which you can prevent the disease.

The best way to influence your chance of surviving breast cancer is to detect it early, so be breast aware and know what is normal for you then you can act if you notice something unusual. Other ways of reducing the risk of breast cancer would be to attend routine breast screenings, eat a healthy well-balanced diet, take regular exercise and be sensible with alcohol. As i’m sure you all are. All these factors are proven to help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. Right now just a quick question girls. How many of you can actually say that you are fully breast aware ?

One maybe not even that. To be breast aware means becoming familiar with how your breast look and feel. You should understand how your breast may change at different times during the month and also as you get older. The important thing is to recognise which changes are usual and which are not. Make sure you know what is normal for you because everyone’s breasts are different. You can help yourself by checking your breasts at least once a month. Just a few minutes now and then could help save your life. All you need to do is do three simple things and they are look, feel and be breast aware.

Look at yourself in the mirror, look for changes in shape size of the breast or of the nipple, any change in the position or colouring of the nipple, any dimpling, denting, scaling or discolouration of the skin. Feel your breasts. Feel for anything that is not normally there. For example a lump or swelling in the breast that feels different from the rest of your breast tissue, a lump or swelling in your armpit, arm or around your collarbone. Recognise any other changes like discharge from one or both nipples, a pain in he breast, armpit or arm that is new to you.

You must always remember to report any changes or any doubts to you doctor no matter how stupid they seem. I’m glad I could come here today, as I feel passionate about this subject and its good to think that I have had some affect on how you deal with your life and breast cancer. I hope you have found today very beneficial and in some ways shocking. Its not about stopping your life now, its about adapting your life so that you can enhance it later on. Just remember breast cancer does kill and its next victim could be you. So act now rather than when it is to late.