Let’s talk about primary and secondary breast cancer
it's breast cancer awareness month and we wanted to take a moment to talk about the symptoms of both primary and secondary breast cancer
October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month - a much publicised cancer awareness initiative which does wonderful work raising awareness around the signs of breast cancer. Easily recognised by the campaign's iconic pink, which is often replicated in everything from afternoon teas to product packaging, while we wish there was no need for us to know about these things, it’s so important that we do.
One of the things that often isn’t spoken about in Breast Cancer Awareness Month however is secondary breast cancer, which has slightly different symptoms to the often discussed primary breast cancer signs. While we are certainly not doctors, and the information we share here is gathered from reputable sources that we have linked to, we hope that in sharing we can help support early diagnosis and greater understanding of the symptoms of both primary and secondary breast cancer.
If you’re ever unsure if something is wrong, it’s always best to speak to your doctor - there are no silly questions when it comes to your health.
Primary breast cancer signs
Cancer Research UK estimates there are nearly 56,000 new cases of breast cancer in the UK each year. Commonly reported symptoms of primary breast cancer include:
As reported by the American Cancer Society:
Swelling of all or part of a breast
Breast or nipple pain
Nipple or breast skin that is red, dry, flaking, or thickened
Swollen lymph nodes under the arm or near the collarbone
Secondary breast cancer signs
There are an estimated 35,000 people living with secondary breast cancer in the UK and that for around 5% of women breast cancer has already spread by the time it is diagnosed.
Low energy levels
Feeling under the weather
Having less appetite
Unexplained weight loss
The specifics of secondary breast cancer symptoms depend on where it has spread to. The most common places for it to spread to are the lymph nodes, liver, lungs, brain, or bones. ABCDiagnosis has a very helpful infographic to help understand those red flags:
Spa treatments and your cancer journey
All cancer treatments have their side effects that doctors will be able to offer advice on.
From our perspective, spas are certainly not going to fix all problems, but with properly trained spa therapists and the right products, they can help to ease some side effects of cancer treatments and to provide support on your cancer journey.
For example, the right type of massage has been shown to help ease pain, improve mood and help with sleeplessness. Meanwhile, products from brands like Jennifer Young help to ease some of the skincare side effects of cancer treatment.
If you would like to find out more about spas where therapists are trained to provide the best support on your cancer journey, you can follow the link to our Safe Hands for Cancer experiences, or read more articles on this blog.
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