Know all the signs and beat breast cancer

Elaine C. Smith fronted the Detect Cancer Early campaign
Elaine C. Smith fronted the Detect Cancer Early campaign

With Breast Cancer Awareness Month well underway, the disease will be top of mind for many women who have experienced breast cancer or know someone who has.

It also marks a year since the Scottish Government’s hard-hitting Detect Cancer Early breast campaign appeared on our television screens.

The ground-breaking advertising campaign featuring Scottish actress Elaine C. Smith was a worldwide first, depicting real female breasts with visible signs of breast cancer.

One in nine women in Scotland will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, so it’s critical that women check themselves regularly and are aware of all the tell-tale signs and get any changes checked at the first opportunity.

Research released earlier this month by charity, Breakthrough Breast Cancer revealed that half (50 per cent) of Scottish women do not check their breasts regularly for the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.

Even though many signs of breast cancer are lumps, there are often other visual signs that women should be aware of as depicted in the pioneering advertising campaign.

These include changes to breasts such as dimples, skin that looks like orange peel, crusty or leaking nipples, or a nipple that’s become turned in.

The Scottish Government’s bold approach to tackling lack of knowledge about breast cancer signs paid off: latest figures reveal a 50 per cent rise in the number of women in Scotland seeing their GP with concerns about signs of breast cancer.

Campaign research also showed that double the number of women now claim to know what to look for when checking their breasts.

Elaine C. Smith said: “For too many years women have been confused and scared about what to look for, and the campaign really has helped encourage them to seek help.

“I am hugely proud of what it has achieved to date and have no doubt whatsoever that increased awareness saves lives.”

All women between 50 and 70 are offered to participate in breast cancer screening every three years through GP surgeries, which continue to be the best way to detect the disease early.

Never ignore changes to your health and always regularly check your breasts. Make an appointment with your GP if you have any concerns whatsoever.

If you want to find out more information about breast cancer, contact NHS Inform on 0800 22 44 88 or visit