A breast cancer awareness campaign went viral after a 38-year-old patient shared the image of 12 lemons, each showing a different sign of breast cancer. Erin Smith Chieze, a mother of four from California, took to Facebook on Tuesday, January 10, to share a photo that shows the many symptoms of breast cancer.
The citrus diagram — designed by Corrine Ellsworth Beaumont for Worldwide Breast Cancer Organization — offers a guide to the physical signs people should keep an eye out for, such as dimpled skin and leaking nipples. The image was originally found a similar image two years ago, and credited it with saving her life after she used it for reference and was subsequently diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. Her Facebook post was shared over 33,000 times.
The most common symptom of breast cancer is usually a lump, but other symptoms are indicative. Fact: about one in eight American women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, according to BreastCancer.org. It is the second most common cause of death for women – and the threat is rising.
Women are advised to check their breasts each month for signs of cancer – but now experts advise those regular checks should begin in our 20s.
Mr Kislaya Thakur, an expert at BMI The Blackheath Hospital in south London, told the media: “The most common symptom of breast cancer is a lump usually found by patients themselves. These include blood stained nipple discharge, nipple inversion or flattening, dimpling or tethering – including an orange-peel appearance – of the skin over the breast, lumps in the armpit or neck, or any redness which may suggest inflammation or persistent pain.”
While awareness is vital, Mr Thakur said it is important women put this knowledge into practice.
Breast cancer, while more common in women over the age of 50, does affect younger girls too.
Twenty per cent of cases occur in those women under the age of 50 – and it is never too young to learn more about what to look out for.
Mr Thakur said: “Women should start becoming breast aware from the age of around 25. About once a month especially a few days after periods are over, when the breasts are less lumpy and, or tender is the best time to check. I’d encourage women to make a habit of this. It enables women to pick up changes in their breasts early and seek specialist advice if needed.”