Topless cancer survivor appears on This Morning to show how to check your breasts – winning praise from viewers
- Dr Sarah Kayat showed how to perform a breast exam live on This Morning
- READ MORE: Kelly Hoppen: I skipped mammogram every year for eight years
Viewers have praised This Morning for its live demonstration on how to check your breasts.
Dr Sarah Kayat enlisted the help of Leigh-Ann, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2021 and who bravely went topless on the ITV show so that the demonstration could be as clear as possible.
Holly Willoughby and Alison Hammond also sat down with designer Kelly Hoppen, who revealed to the Daily Mail that she was diagnosed with breast cancer after avoiding getting a mammogram every year for eight years.
Dr Sarah said that checking your own breasts is extremely important and saves 1,300 lives in the UK each year.
Viewers praised the show for doing the ‘important’ demonstration, noting that women are not ‘really taught’ how to check their breasts for lumps.
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Dr Sarah Kayat enlisted the help of Leigh-Ann, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2021 and who bravely went topless on the ITV show so that the demonstration could be as clear as possible
Dr Sarah stressed the importance of checking your own breasts, with Holly Willoughby stating it is the ‘first line of defence’ against cancer.
‘If you notice any symptoms and you’re not within that age group, don’t just wait until that point, do seek help before then and you can get scanned prior. Your first line of defence is knowing your own breasts, and checking in yourself.’
Leigh-Ann revealed it is by checking her own breasts for lumps that she got her diagnosis and that it saved her life.
The doctor said: ‘Part of the examination for breasts is looking and feeling. We’ll start by looking. So you start in front of a mirror, straight on and you’re looking at your breasts.
‘You’re looking at changes in shape, size, outline, any asymmetry, also looking at the skin, making sure that there is no puckering of dimpling on the skin, that there’s not rashes, eczema, scaling, crusting.
‘And then you’re looking at the nipples, looking for any inversions or whether the nipples are pointing in any other direction, if there is any nipple discharge.
‘And if you’ve got larger breasts it’s important to lift up the breast and look underneath the breast as well.
The health professional reminded people to press the breast around and on the nipples itself to make sure they don’t miss out on lumps
Viewers thanked the show for the demonstration, praising the programme for the clear explanations and gestures of Dr Sarah
‘It’s easier with smaller breasts, but it’s important that everyone feels included.’
Dr Sarah also said that women should look in the mirror from the side, turn around and look at the other side of their breasts as well.
She advised to then go back to the front and to raise your hands above the head, before putting the hands on the hips and pushing the breasts all out, up and down so you can spot any changes there.
‘These are changes that we’re looking for, so knowing your normal is what we’re looking for,’ Dr Sarah added.
Dr Sarah also talked about how breasts can feel ‘lumpy’ when someone is on their period, and how to check these lumps are not irregular
After the visual exam, the expert went on to do a physical exam by checking Leigh-Ann with her hands.
‘When we’re feeling the breast, what we can do is we can either do it standing up, lots of people like to do it in the shower, but if you have larger breasts, sometimes it’s easier doing it laying down at about 30 degrees.
‘In this case, what we’re going to do is, we use the pads of our fingers, the whole of the pad, not just the finger tips, and we want to bend our knuckles and feeling that way.
‘Our breasts are kind of coming in a tear-drop type of shape, so you want to make sure you’re feeling all the way up.
During the demonstration, Dr Sarah explained you have to press the skin hard against the ribcage to make sure you’re not missing lumps
She also advised on the best position to check for lumps on your armpits, and gave special guidance for women with larger breasts
‘You can do it in different ways,’ Dr Sarah said, adding that some people like to do it in a ‘lawn-mower’ way, while others choose to do it ‘in a kind of concentric way’.
‘I like to do it in circles,’ the health professional said, adding: ‘I start at the top, going quite firmly. We’re feeling for lumps here, we’re feeling for anything that, when you press the tissue against the ribcage to feel if there’s a lump.’
She said to carry on pressing the breast with your fingers until you reach the middle of the breast, near the nipple.
‘You don’t want to forget the nipple. People often forget to press on the nipple, make sure you do that too,’ she said.
Holly also noted that breasts can feel ‘lumpy’ when women are having their period, and Dr Sarah explained how possibly cancerous lump are different.
‘Breast can feel lumpy, you’re feeling for quite a firm lump that’s not really mobile, The lumps that come around that time of the month tend to come in this upper right quadrant, so what we do is, we check the other side to see if it feels the same, and if it does, it’s more of a density issue.’
Dr Sarah than moved on to checking Leigh-Ann’s armpits, saying it’s easier to check for lumps in this part of the body by putting your hand on your opposite shoulder.
Viewers praised This Morning’s initiative to educate women on how they can check their breasts for lumps
‘It helps to relax the muscles, and then you can really get in there. And again, you’re doing the same motion and you’re trying to go all the way up, past the hairline, so the whole way of the armpit.
She said to repeat the exact same checks on the other side of the body.
Holly revealed she sets herself monthly reminder on her phone not to forget to check herself.
Viewers thanked and praised This Morning for the educational health segment.
‘Just want to praise This Morning “how to check your breasts” segment… It’s something that women aren’t really taught how to do and it’s so important to know how to check properly! Thank you,’ one said.
Kelly Hoppen discussed her own cancer diagnosis with Alison and Holly on today’s This Morning
‘Bravo for that clear breast examination! Thank you! So helpful to see it done live,’ another wrote.
‘Wonderful to see female breasts being shown, unashamedly, on national TV, without sexualisation, purely to remind us all of how to check ourselves and catch cancer early. A very brace woman, but an absolute star,’ one said.
The demonstration took place on This Morning after designer Kelly Hoppen, 63, revealed she was diagnosed with breast cancer after avoiding getting a mammogram for years.
The designer wrote for the Daily Mail about how she had thought she had less chance of getting the condition as she got older, and thought she had ‘dodged a bullet.’
Hoppen, whose own mother got breast cancer when she was her age, and whose father died aged 48, said she hated hospitals and said she would book and postpone her check-up appointments or would not book them at all.
After finally sticking to an appointment, she went through several scans and tests and a biopsy which revealed she had Ductal Carcinoma In Situ, the mildest form of cancer.
Kelly revealed the cancer was lodged in two milks ducts and was removed during a procedure that made her feel sore.
She had a further procedure to remove tissue from the duct to prevent the cancer from spreading.
Eventually, after the procedure, more tests showed the cancer had been efficiently treated and that Kelly wouldn’t need radiotherapy.
She revealed she was also tested for the BRCA gene test to find out if she had inherited a genetic tendency to develop certain cancers.
She was left overjoyed when the test came back negative.
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world and affects more than two MILLION women a year
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. Each year in the UK there are more than 55,000 new cases, and the disease claims the lives of 11,500 women. In the US, it strikes 266,000 each year and kills 40,000. But what causes it and how can it be treated?
What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer develops from a cancerous cell which develops in the lining of a duct or lobule in one of the breasts.
When the breast cancer has spread into surrounding breast tissue it is called an ‘invasive’ breast cancer. Some people are diagnosed with ‘carcinoma in situ’, where no cancer cells have grown beyond the duct or lobule.
Most cases develop in women over the age of 50 but younger women are sometimes affected. Breast cancer can develop in men, though this is rare.
Staging means how big the cancer is and whether it has spread. Stage 1 is the earliest stage and stage 4 means the cancer has spread to another part of the body.
The cancerous cells are graded from low, which means a slow growth, to high, which is fast-growing. High-grade cancers are more likely to come back after they have first been treated.
What causes breast cancer?
A cancerous tumour starts from one abnormal cell. The exact reason why a cell becomes cancerous is unclear. It is thought that something damages or alters certain genes in the cell. This makes the cell abnormal and multiply ‘out of control’.
Although breast cancer can develop for no apparent reason, there are some risk factors that can increase the chance of developing breast cancer, such as genetics.
What are the symptoms of breast cancer?
The usual first symptom is a painless lump in the breast, although most breast lumps are not cancerous and are fluid filled cysts, which are benign.
The first place that breast cancer usually spreads to is the lymph nodes in the armpit. If this occurs you will develop a swelling or lump in an armpit.
How is breast cancer diagnosed?
- Initial assessment: A doctor examines the breasts and armpits. They may do tests such as a mammography, a special x-ray of the breast tissue which can indicate the possibility of tumours.
- Biopsy: A biopsy is when a small sample of tissue is removed from a part of the body. The sample is then examined under a microscope to look for abnormal cells. The sample can confirm or rule out cancer.
If you are confirmed to have breast cancer, further tests may be needed to assess if it has spread. For example, blood tests, an ultrasound scan of the liver or a chest X-ray.
How is breast cancer treated?
Treatment options which may be considered include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormone treatment. Often a combination of two or more of these treatments are used.
- Surgery: Breast-conserving surgery or the removal of the affected breast depending on the size of the tumour.
- Radiotherapy: A treatment which uses high energy beams of radiation focused on cancerous tissue. This kills cancer cells, or stops cancer cells from multiplying. It is mainly used in addition to surgery.
- Chemotherapy: A treatment of cancer by using anti-cancer drugs which kill cancer cells, or stop them from multiplying.
- Hormone treatments: Some types of breast cancer are affected by the ‘female’ hormone oestrogen, which can stimulate the cancer cells to divide and multiply. Treatments which reduce the level of these hormones, or prevent them from working, are commonly used in people with breast cancer.
How successful is treatment?
The outlook is best in those who are diagnosed when the cancer is still small, and has not spread. Surgical removal of a tumour in an early stage may then give a good chance of cure.
The routine mammography offered to women between the ages of 50 and 70 means more breast cancers are being diagnosed and treated at an early stage.
For more information visit breastcancernow.org or call its free helpline on 0808 800 6000
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