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Many UK Women Lack Knowledge Of Breast Cancer Symptoms

Armen Hareyan's picture

About 87% of women in the United Kingdom regularly check for lumpsin the breast, but many lack knowledge about the full range of symptomsof breast cancer, according to a survey conducted by the organization Breakthrough Breast Cancer, BBC News reports. The organization surveyed 1,190 women older than age 50 in the United Kingdom.

According to the survey:

  • 81% of the women wrongly believed a mole on the breast could be a symptom of breast cancer;
  • About one-quarter wrongly believed having a persistent cough was a symptom;
  • About one-third wrongly believed that an extra nipple was linked to breast cancer;
  • Only 10% of the respondents said they looked for inversion of the nipple;
  • 14% looked for changes in the skin on the breasts;
  • 16% checked for discharge from the nipple;
  • 22% looked for changes in the appearance of the nipple;
  • 23% looked for changes in the size or shape of the breast; and
  • A little more than half checked for lumps in the armpit.
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    Breakthrough Breast Cancer is calling on general practitioners in thecountry to help eliminate the confusion about breast cancer symptomsand increase detection rates, BBC News reports. Thesurvey found that half of women age 70 and older were unaware that theycould continue to receive no-cost breast screening by making their ownappointments through their doctor or local breast screening facility.About 88% of women in the age group reported that since turning 70their doctors or surgeons had not discussed this option with them.

    JeremyHughes, chief executive of Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said, "It'sclear that despite breast cancer now being the most common cancer inthe United Kingdom, women remain extremely confused about what theyshould be looking out for, with their focus still very much on feelingfor breast lumps." He added that the group would like to see morepractitioners making patients ages 70 and older "aware that they can,and should, make their own regular breast screening appointments."Hughes said that it is "important to remember that the earlier breastcancer is detected and treated the better the chances of survival" (BBC News, 9/20).

    Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser DailyWomen's Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for emaildelivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.