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GPs in Lambeth supporting campaign to increase awareness of breast cancer

GPs in Lambeth are supporting a national drive to raise breast cancer awareness and improve local screening rates.

Women aged between 50 and 70 are invited for regular breast screening every three years under a national NHS programme. This can help detect the disease at an early stage when there is a better chance of successful treatment. Find out more about screening in South East London here.

Latest data shows take up rates in Lambeth sat at 65.4 per cent in 2018, compared to the national average of 74.9 per cent.step4.jpg

To mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which runs throughout October, GPs across Lambeth are keen to help as many people as possible recognise and understand the signs and symptoms of the disease – as well as encouraging women in the target age group to respond to their screening invitations.

More than 55,000 women in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, and around one in eight UK women will develop the disease in their lifetimes. Four out of five cases are in women over 50.

Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • A lump or swelling in the breast, upper chest or armpit; it's possible you would be able to feel, but not see it
  • Changes in the size or shape of the breast
  • A change in skin texture, such as puckering or dimpling of the skin
  • A change in the colour of the breast, making it look red or inflamed
  • Changes to the nipple such as a rash or crusting
  • Any unusual discharge from either nipple

Pain in one or both breasts is not by itself a symptom, but when combined with one or more of the above indicators, or if it is an unusual pain that persists over time, it may be. Having these symptoms does not mean you have breast cancer, but you should see your GP if you do exhibit one or more.

Dr Adrian McLachlan, a local GP and chair of NHS Lambeth CCG, said: "We are working hard in Lambeth to raise awareness of breast cancer symptoms and the importance of screening. If you exhibit any of the symptoms of breast cancer, please seek an appointment with your GP. It may be nothing, but we know that the earlier breast cancer is detected, the better your chances of successful treatment and a full recovery. Please don't worry if you have lost your screening invite letter, you can contact the London Breast Screening Service on 020 3299 8000 or contact your GP for further information."

The awareness month, run by charity Breast Cancer Now, is also helping raise funds for Wear It Pink, which will support research to prevent breast cancer, efforts to stop people dying from the disease, and care for those who have it. The charity's goal is that by 2050 everyone who develops breast cancer will live, and that everyone developing it today will receive the support they need to live well now.

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