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Breast cancer

The vast majority of us are aware of the importance of regularly checking our breasts for changes which may act as an indicator of cancer.

And while many of us check for lumps in breast tissue or changes in our nipples, one Facebook user is urging women to consider the relevance of even more subtle changes.

Taking to social media, Claire Warner, uploaded an image of her left breast which featured a small purple mark on the underside.

The post, which was originally uploaded six months ago but is gaining traction again this week, reminds us that signs and symptoms of cancer are not always as obvious as a lump might be.

"Ok, here goes – the Facebook status and photo I never dreamt I'd be posting – PLEASE READ and more importantly LOOK!" Claire wrote in an upload which has been shared 26,000 times

"This is a picture of my left boob. The small purplish bruise is where I had a biopsy taken," she continued. "The minuscule dimple up and to the left of it is a rare and little-known symptom of BREAST CANCER."

"Blink and you'd miss it. I only spotted it thanks to another post shared by an amazing friend," she wrote.

Claire, who established a Twitter page to document her journey,  assured her followers that it was caught exceptionally early and after surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, she has "every hope of being cured."

Reminding the public to check themselves (and this includes males), Claire finished her post by writing: "If I can help one other person, the way I was helped, then it's been worth showing my soon-to-be-reduced left tit to the world."

"What an amazing, brave, selfless, boobtastic thing to do. Super proud to know your amazing self." wrote one follower.


It’s a pretty frightening statistic: in the last decade, the number of breast cancer cases in this country has risen by a third.

Annual diagnoses now stand at some 2,800 women.

However, 85 percent of those with the disease are surviving, thanks largely to cancer research which is improving detection and treatments.

Paint It Pink supporters Roz Purcell with Marion and Lisa Dwane

Indeed, the Irish Cancer Society has invested €7.5m in BREAST-PREDICT, a five-year study focused on breast cancer research.

And now Paint It Pink is calling on all of us to host a pink coffee morning or event this October to support the charity’s important research, advocacy and services.

One celebrity getting behind the drive is model-turned-foodie Roz Purcell, whose own sister, Rachel, was last year diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia.

“Every family has been touched by cancer, and for women, breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer,” Roz, 25, said recently.

“This October we can help support all those on their breast cancer journey by Painting It Pink – host a coffee morning or pink event and play your part.”

Researcher Lisa Dwane is from Dublin. Her studies focus on hormone-driven breast cancer. Lisa’s mother Marion is a breast cancer survivor, and it was this experience which drove Lisa to pursue her chosen career path.

“My mam was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 37 years old and I was 14. Seeing what my Mam went through I wanted to do something to help women so that no family ever has to go through that kind of pain again,” Lisa said.

Marion was diagnosed with stage 3A hormone driven breast cancer; she had a lumpectomy, then chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Herceptin had just been made available in Ireland at the time and Marion was one of the first to avail of the new treatment. Now, 11 years later, she is cancer free and extremely proud that her daughter is helping others through her career.

Lisa added: “About 70 percent of breast cancers are hormone driven. Most of these women will be treated with tamoxifen and about one third of them will relapse within 15 years.

“We’re looking for new ways to treat this type of patient, patients that either fail on tamoxifen treatment or don’t respond at all.

Marion herself, from Clondalkin, said of her daughter: “I’m so proud of her. Cancer research is so important. I’m living proof of this.”

Members of the public can help fund vital cancer research and support services for those affected by cancer by Painting It Pink this October. Visit paintitpink.ie or call 1850 60 60 60 for fundraising ideas and information on breast cancer.

The Paint It Pink campaign is kindly supported by Centra.



Janice Dickinson was diagnosed with cancer at the start of this year, and while she has been vocal since her diagnosis she has admitted that telling her family was seriously tough.

Indeed, speaking to Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford on ITV's This Morning today, the 61-year-old candidly spoke about how she was point-blank AFRAID to tell her children – Savannah Dickinson, 22, and Nathan Fields, 29.

"In the beginning I was in a state of numbness… I was truly – not denial or pity – but I just walked around feeling kind of numb because I was afraid for my children,” she said via a live link from LA.

"I was afraid how my two grown children would take the news and they were very upset. And then I went through a period where I thought I wasn’t going to be attractive to my fiancé.”



A photo posted by Janice Dickinson (@janicedickinson) on

Janice was diagnosed with cancer back in March after doctors found a lump in her breast; she is now encouraging others to check themselves regularly.

"It's for this reason that I appear in front of you today to share my experience. I implore all women to go get their breast examined and do it themselves.”



A photo posted by Janice Dickinson (@janicedickinson) on

The former Celebrity Big Brother contestant went through six weeks of radiation, but found that by talking to people during her treatment she was able to stay herself.

“I found Janice again by really talking to people [during treatments] and asking about their day… I’d make them healthy biscuits… trying to be of service to people that have far worse afflictions.

"That’s how I found my light at the tunnel and I just want to keep going. It’s not the end, I’m not out the door yet.”


Bord Bia's Bloom 2016 kicked off today in the Phoenix Park, Dublin and one must-see garden at this year's festival is the Garden of Hope.

The Marie Keating Foundation and Roche unveiled their medium-sized garden called Out the Other Side: A Garden of Hope, which aims to shine a light on cancer survivorship in Ireland.

The inspiration for this garden came from the photo exhibition, Out the Other Side: Stories of Breast Cancer Survival, which received an overwhelmingly emotional response when it was displayed in St. Stephen's Green in Dublin last October. 

The designer of the garden, Tünde Szentesi, who is also a previous Bloom medallist, said about the stunning design: “Instead of using images and words, the garden’s colour scheme symbolises the emotions often experienced by women at various stages of their breast cancer journey. 

"The beginning of the path is lined with dark purple and red foliage, plants and flowers, representing the feelings women may experience when they are first diagnosed or when they face difficulties during treatment. 

"Towards the end of the path, the plants gradually lighten with lots of white appearing at the end as a colour that reflects new beginnings, protection and encouragement. In this way, we hope people leave the garden with a sense of peace, calm, and hope, helping alleviate emotional upsets."

If you're visiting Bloom this year, the garden is definitely worth a stop, and be sure to check out the bra hammock, which was designed and created by students from NCAD and The Rediscovery Centre. Bras were donated by women all over Ireland, and it's certainly a site to see!

There is currently close to 30,000 women in Ireland who have won their battle with breast cancer, and it's safe to say that we all know someone who has been affected by the illness, so take some time out of this sunny Bank Holiday and make your way to the Garden of Hope. 

We'll see you there!


Shannen Doherty has revealed that she is battling breast cancer.

The former Charmed actress confirmed the news to the media yesterday after legal documents leaked showing that she was suing her business manager, who she claims is responsible for the severity of her cancer.

Management company Tanner Mainstain Glynn & Johnson was tasked with handling Shannen's finances in exchange for 5% of her earnings, TMZ reports. However the actress alleges that last year the company ignored an invoice for a medical insurance premium, meaning her insurance was cancelled.

As she was unable to re-enroll until 2015, Shannen was left without medical insurance for several months, during which time she didn't get any health check-ups, as she claims would have been regular practice for her before. In March of this year, Shannen was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer which first began spreading during 2014.

The actress was also told that "had she been insured and able to visit her doctor, the cancer could potentially have been stopped, thus obviating the need for future treatment (including mastectomy and chemotherapy) that [she] will likely have to suffer through now," according to the documents.


A photo posted by ShannenDoherty (@theshando) on

Tanner Mainstain Glynn & Johnson has dismissed the claims as "patently false.

In a statement to PEOPLE magazine yesterday, the 90210 star said she was optimistic in the face of her illness. "Yes, I have breast cancer, and I am currently undergoing treatment," she confirmed. 

"I am continuing to eat right, exercise and stay very positive about my life. I am thankful to my family, friends and doctors for their support and, of course, my fans who have stood by me."

Wishing Shannen all the best for a full recovery.


Kelly Osbourne has revealed she may also elect to get preventative surgery at some stage, as she has a high risk factor for cancer like Angelina Jolie.

Speaking during a segment on The Talk yesterday about Angelina's decision to have invasive surgery to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes to reduce her risk of ovarian cancer, Kelly said she had also been tested for the "cancer gene" and knows she will eventually have to take preventative measures.

Kelly's mum Sharon had a double mastectomy in 2012 after discovering she had a harmful mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene which placed her at greatly increased risk of breast cancer. At she time she insisted her daughters also get tested, which is when Kelly found out she too was at high risk.

"I actually do have the cancer gene,” the 30-year-old said on the show. “My mom made all of us get tested after she found out that she had it and got her double mastectomy.”

Kelly said she agreed "100 per cent" with Angelina's decision to undergo preventative surgery, first with a double mastectomy in 2013 and now with a second surgery. 

"I know that one day I will eventually have to do it too because if I have children, I want to be there to bring them up. I want to be there to support them in every way I can," Kelly explained. 

"It’s something I applaud Angelina for because she’s bringing attention to this,” she added. "People are now going to go out and get tested for it.” 

We're delighted to see this sensitive issue being discussed so openly.


Weddings are often emotional events, but Lorraine Whyman's wedding to the love of her life was made all the more heart-breaking by the fact that she may have just two years left to live.

Lorraine, who lives in Manchester but is originally from Ireland, was diagnosed with breast cancer last May. Despite months of chemotherapy and surgeries, the cancer tragically spread to her brain, and doctors have warned her that her time is limited.

But the 33-year-old says that wasn't the reason her and boyfriend Jon Callahan wanted to tie the knot. "I wouldn’t want anyone to think we’d got married just because I was ill or because my lifespan has an expectancy," she told a local paper. 

"If there was a cure tomorrow we’d still be married 60 years from now – that’s why we did it… I wanted everyone to know this is the person I’m going to spend the rest of my life with."

The couple got married in Devon before flying to Ireland for a party with Lorraine's extended family. "There was no mention of anyone being ill, it was a normal wedding and that’s what we wanted," said the new bride. “We just wanted to be married and face whatever comes next together.”

Having experienced her own mum's death from ovarian cancer, and watched her aunt battle and survive breast cancer, Lorraine knows just how cruel the disease can be.

"I know what’s going to happen, I’ve seen it happen. But we just have to enjoy whatever time we have left," she said. 


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and so we are going to give you the lowdown on how and when you need to check your breasts.

Firstly, it’s important to check your breasts regularly – as in every time you shower.

About once a month you should do a thorough check of your breasts.

Changes to look out for when checking your breasts include:

  • A lump or thickening in the breast or under the armpit
  • Pain in one of the breasts or armpit
  • Puckering or dimpling of the breast skin
  • Pulling in of the nipple
  • Reddness of the breast skin
  • Nipple rash
  • Discharge or bleeding from the nipple
  • Changes in the shape or size of the breasts or nipple
  • A change in the position of the nipple

Cancer.ie notes that 9 out of 10 breast lumps are harmless but if anything is bothering you about your breasts please visit a GP so they can put your mind and ease and do any further investigating that may need to be done. 

Checking regularly for changes in your breasts can catch anything that may be worrying early and is therefore really important in the fight against breast cancer – which is one we all want to win. 


When it comes to your boobs, what is the one word that you would use to describe them?

CoppaFeel! founder Kris Hallenga wanted to find out what exactly the people of the UK thought about their breasts and so took to the streets to ask that very question. Unsurprisingly, Kris found that most of their responses were about size.

However, there is a reason why she is asking ladies about their assets, she wants us to know what is normal for us so that we can spot any changes straight away.

Kris was diagnosed with breast cancer at the  age of 23 and she is currently at stage four of the disease – the most advanced stage.

CoppaFeel! wants women to get to know their breasts so that they will know what is normal for them and therefore have a greater chance of discovering any changes pretty quickly.

So cop a feel and get to know your boobs.


Hopefully, most of us ladies, if not all, are pretty religious on checking our body for any lumps and bumps.

When it comes to fighting breast cancer the most effective method is early detection, which is why we must do a proper breast exam regularly.

However, there may be a way to predict the chances of getting non-inherited breast cancer.

According to doctors, a blood test may be able to determine if a woman has a higher chance of getting breast cancer, even if they don’t have the genes.

The scientists who discovered this have identified a “switch” in blood that increases a woman’s chances of developing the disease.

Senior research officer at Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Dr Matthew Lam,  believes “this could mean that in the future a woman may be able to have a simple blood test to look for this DNA signature, and therefore know if she is at a higher risk of developing breast cancer.”

“If she does have this signature, she could then work with her doctor to explore the options available to help her take control of her own risk. These could include lifestyle changes, tailored breast screening, risk-reducing drugs or surgery.”

Sounds pretty awesome to us.



A lot of people think that the occasional smoke will have little effect on their body, but boy are they wrong….

New research found that smoking as little as 100 fags in a lifetime can increases a woman’s chance of getting breast cancer by 30%.

They also discovered that smoking a packet a day every day for 10 years will make a woman 60% more likely to develop the most common type of breast cancer- the oestrogen receptor-positive type.

“I think there is growing evidence that breast cancer is another health hazard associated with smoking,’ said the leader of the study.

They believe this could be because the substances in cigarettes act like oestrogen, which would promote the growth of the most common type of breast cancer.

With these alarming figures, we think it might be time to dump those packets in the bin.


Many women know that the number of drinks you have during the week can increase the risk of breast cancer – but that’s not all.

The number of children you have, your diet and any hormonal therapies you take are also factors.

Having more children and breastfeeding will help you lower the risks. However, breastfeeding for more than six months is not considered practical by many  women who return to work.

Being overweight and obese are also factors at play, so you need to keep a well balanced diet.

Taking HRT during the menopause has also been shown to increase the risk of developing a cancerous growth.

Cancer Research UK’s head of health, Julie Sharp  says: “Women can reduce their risk of breast cancer by cutting down on alcohol, keeping a healthy weight by eating a balanced diet and keeping active.

If you do notice any changes in your breasts including any lumps, changes to your nipples or skin you should seek medical advice straight away.

While it may not be cancer, it is always best to get it checked out.

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