NEARLY a quarter of women in Ealing are failing to regularly check their breasts for signs of cancer, according to a survey commissioned by a hospital.
The survey for The Clementine Churchill Hospital, based in Harrow, shows that 26 per cent of adult females, compared to 46 per cent of London women, do not regularly check their breasts for irregular lumps.
Rajiv Vashisht, consultant breast surgeon at the hospital, said prevention is better than cure and is urging all women of all ages to regularly check their breasts.
"Regular checks can help identify abnormalities in breast tissue that could indicate early signs of breast cancer.
"Early identification through breast awareness allows patients to seek much faster diagnosis and treatment."
Women aged between 50 and 70 receive free breast screenings every three years on the NHS, but the survey showed that 52 per cent of women, aged 18 or over, had never been shown how to do so by a medical professional.
As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month doctors and nurses are working hard to better educate women about what is normal for their individual bodies and what to look out for.
Dr Vashisht added: "Guidelines have changed and now recognise that it is more important for a woman to know what looks and feel normal and be breast aware.
"They should know the symptoms of the disease, know what is normal for their body, and be able to quickly identify any changes."
The hospital is offering residents the chance to visit their sister site, BMI City MedicalCentre, in central London, for a free GP led breast awareness consultation. The 30 minute meeting is for anyone aged over 18. For more information call 0800 092 8631.
* Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK and affects both men and women
* Each year around 300 men and 49,000 women are diagnosed
* Eighty per cent of breast cancers occur in women aged over 50
* But in women aged under 35 it is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer
* More people are being diagnosed with breast cancer but survival ratesare improving - probably as a result of improved treatment and earlierdetection
* Women should regularly check their breasts - know what is normal for you and what to look and feel for
* For more information on breast awareness visit www.breastcancercare.org.uk .
The Breast Cancer Check:
Women should regularly check their breasts for the rest of lives. You should be familiar with how your breasts feel and how they change through your menstrual cycle and pregnancy.
If you notice any of the following symptoms you should contact your GP immediately:
* Painless lumps in the breast
* Changes in the size or shape of a breast
* Dimpling to the skin of the breast
* Thickened breast tissue
* Inverted nipple
* Lump or thickening of the nipple
* Rash or bloodstained discharge from the nipple
* Swelling or a lump in the armpit