• Get used to what your breasts normally look like. This way, you’ll notice any changes
• Look to see any of the following signs:
• Changes in skin texture, such as dimpling or puckering, often called an ‘orange peel’ appearance;
• A sudden change in size, outline or shape of the breast(s);
• Any swellings or redness
• Changes in nipple position, such as being pulled in, or changes in direction;
• Nipple discharge that’s not milky;
• A rash or ‘crusty’ appearance of the nipple and the surrounding area, which doesn’t heal easily.
Is there a link between breast cancer and alcohol?
In short, yes – there is strong evidence that alcohol can increase the risk of developing several types of cancer, including breast cancer. One drink a day carries a small risk; two or three increases the risk by 20%. Alcohol consumption is associated mostly with oestrogen receptor-positive breast cancer.
How does alcohol increase risk of breast cancer?
The link between alcohol and breast cancer is not fully understood, although there are some suggestions as to why it increases the risk of developing cancer:
The UK government recommends not to drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week on a regular basis. Ideally, you should spread your drinks over a few days and have days off drinking each week. Inside of these guidelines, the individual risk is assumed to be small (Department of Health, Alcohol Guidelines Review, 2016).
What is a unit of alcohol?
1 unit of alcohol is equivalent to 10ml of pure alcohol. In terms of drinks, one unit corresponds to:
It is important to enjoy everything in moderation and in an informed manner!
• “I know just how you feel”
• “Don’t worry”
• “How long do you have?”
• “I’m sure you’ll be just fine”
• “look on the bright side / just be positive”
• it may not be helpful to share the stories of other people you
• “have you tried….?”
• “Remember there’s always someone worse off than you”
And remember, non-verbal communication can be just as powerful as verbal communication. Comfortable silences, attentive listening, body language, and facial expressions are tools that can be used.
with their team of Boobettes giving inspiring talks and their positive core values of normalising both symptom checks and young people’s experiences with cancer powerfully spreading a strong and positive sense of empowerment.
Future Dreams, founded by a mother and daughter, works to provide practical support for those dealing with their diagnosis, with an adapted campaign over the pandemic that distributed care packages to thousands. They run a breast cancer support centre, that gives visitors holistic advice and support that is working to build up a community of solidarity.
Ablation Removal of or stopping a part of the body from working by surgery, hormone therapy or radiotherapy.
Abraxane A type of chemotherapy drug used to treat breast cancer.
AC chemotherapy A combination of the chemotherapy drugs Adriamycin (also known as doxorubicin) and cyclophosphamide.
Adjuvant Treatment given after initial treatment, for example chemotherapy or radiotherapy given after surgery.
Adriamycin see Doxorubicin
Advanced breast cancer Breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast and the lymph nodes under the arm to other parts of the body. Also known as secondary, stage 4 or metastatic breast cancer.
Adverse effect An undesired or harmful effect resulting from treatment.
Alopecia Loss of hair from the head or body.
Alternative therapy Term used to describe therapies used by some people in place of standard medical treatment.
Anaemia Too few red blood cells in the body. It may cause symptoms including tiredness, shortness of breath and weakness.
Anastrozole A hormone therapy and one of a group of drugs called aromatase inhibitors. It may be known by different brand names, the most well-known being Arimidex.
Anthracyclines A group of chemotherapy drugs commonly used to treat breast cancer. Examples include doxorubicin (also known as Adriamycin) and epirubicin.
Anti-emetics Drugs used to reduce nausea (feeling sick) and vomiting (being sick).
Areola Coloured area of skin around the nipple.
Arimidex see Anastrozole
Aromasin see Exemestane
Aromatase inhibitors Breast cancer treatment that works by reducing the amount of oestrogen in the body. A type of hormone (endocrine) therapy.
Ascites A build-up of fluid between the two layers of the peritoneum (a membrane which forms the lining of the abdomen).
Avastin see Bevacizumab
Axilla Under the arm, the armpit.
Axillary clearance An operation to remove all the lymph nodes (also called lymph glands) from under the arm (axilla).
Axillary nodes The lymph nodes (also called lymph glands) under the arm (axilla).
Axillary sampling An operation to remove some of the lymph nodes (also called lymph glands) from under the arm (axilla).
Thank you to Breast Cancer Now for producing this incredibly informative glossary!