Friends of the Cancer Centre call on women across Northern Ireland to be more breast aware this October
Sunday, 2 October 2016
Friends of the Cancer Centre is calling on women across Northern Ireland to be more breast aware this Breast Cancer Awareness Month with the launch of the charity’s new 7 Step Shower Check hanger.
The 7 Step Shower Check is a waterproof hanger - similar to a do not disturb hanger on hotel doors - that women can hang in their shower, on the door of their bathroom, or anywhere that will remind them to check their breasts once a month, every month. The hanger features an easy to follow step-by-step guide on how to carry out a self-examination, encouraging women to become familiar with their breasts and what is normal for them, so any changes can be identified at an early stage. The card also outlines what breast changes, signs and symptoms women should look out for when carrying out their own exam and sign-posts them to see their GP.
Hangers are available here
It is hoped that the hangers will encourage women of all ages to be more breast aware. Colleen Shaw, chief executive of Friends of the Cancer Centre, said:
“Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in Northern Ireland. Treatment has come a long way and more women than ever before are surviving cancer, but early detection is vital and encouraging women to be breast aware is the first step in this. As well as attending mammograms, self-examination is a really important and pro-active step that women of all ages can take to detect any possible changes early, but despite the awareness of the importance of carrying out breast checks, many women are still not doing it.
“Our 7 Step Shower Check is a tool that we hope will help address this issue by acting as the reminder women need to make breast checks a regular part of their routine, not just during Breast Cancer Awareness Month when breast cancer is in the news, but every month.”
Friends of the Cancer Centre, based at the heart of the Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital, funds life-saving and life-changing projects which directly benefit patients, including a clinical nurse specialist for breast cancer who is the first and only nurse of her kind in Northern Ireland. Friends of the Cancer Centre has also invested in the training and development of local nurses through its pilot Clinical Nurse Specialist Training Programme, which provided senior nurses in the Cancer Centre with the expert training they need to become a clinical nurse specialist. This advanced training will now allow them to apply for future specialist nursing posts when they become available and to start the new post immediately without having to undergo training when in post.
One such nurse to take part in the programme specialising in breast cancer was Samantha Sloan, oncology nurse at the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, who developed the shower check hanger with Friends of the Cancer Centre after her experience dealing with breast cancer patients. She said:
“When I was working with breast cancer patients one of the recurring issues that I came across was that many women weren’t checking their breasts on a regular basis. For many it was down to not having the time, forgetting to do it and even a fear of checking their breasts in case they found something. I wanted to work with Friends of the Cancer Centre to create an easy step-by-step guide that women could incorporate into their daily routine to encourage and remind them to check their breasts regularly.
“I also want the hangers to start a conversation among men and women locally with each of us encouraging each other – our mums, daughters, sisters and best friends - to get their own breast check hanger and to get into the habit of checking their breasts regularly. It just takes five minutes, but those five minutes could save your life.”
Friends of the Cancer Centre’s 7 Step Shower Check hanger is available here.