A LEADING surgeon is urging women to attend screenings to detect the early signs of breast cancer.
Rajiv Vashisht, a consultant breast surgeon, at West Middlesex hospital, Isleworth, advised that prevention is better than cure and catching cancer in its early stages can make it easier to beat.
He said: "I particularly want Asian women to come to screenings. A lot of Asian ladies won't think it will happen to them as cancer is not as big a problem in Asia, but for Asians who live here there is no difference and they are at just a high a risk as any other ethnicity."
His efforts are part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, four weeks dedicated to raising money and awareness of the disease.
West Middlesex Hospital treat about 150 cases a year.
Mr Vashisht said in the 18 years he has specialised in cancer, the level of treatment and diagnosis has increased tremendously.
He said: "Survival from breast cancer has increased significantly since I started and now we try not to remove the breasts straight away, which we would have done 10 years ago.
"Diagnostics have improved and we can pick up smaller cancers more easily."
However, the surgeon said it was difficult to single out one factor which increased the likelihood of developing it.
He said: "As you get older you are more likely to get cancer, family history also plays a big part, these things you can't really monitor, just be aware and attend screenings.
"It is also important to check your breast once a month, and become aware of any changes in shape or size. If ever in doubt visit your GP."
Every year 50,000 people in the UK are told they have breast cancer, 300 of which are men.
80 per cent of breast cancers occur in women over the age of 50.
Breast cancer is the second biggest cause of death from cancer in women in the UK, after lung cancer.
More people are being diagnosed with breast cancer but survival rates are improving, probably as a result of improved treatment and earlier detection.