Julia Bradbury announces breast cancer diagnosis - symptoms of the disease and how to check breasts

Sunday, 19th September 2021, 10:29 am
Julia Bradbury has announced she has been diagnosed with breast cancer and is set to undergo surgery to remove her left breast (Photo: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

Julia Bradbury has announced she has been diagnosed with breast cancer and is set to undergo surgery to remove her left breast.

But what did Julia Bradbury say about her diagnosis, what are the symptoms of breast cancer and how should you check your breasts?

Here’s what you need to know.

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What did Julia Bradbury say about her breast cancer diagnosis?

The 51-year-old broadcaster said in an interview with the Mail on Sunday that she will be undergoing a mastectomy next month in order to remove a six centimetre tumour.

Surgeons will also take tissue from her lymph nodes in order to establish whether the disease has spread to other parts of her body.

Bradbury’s diagnosis followed a mammogram she booked in July of this year on an annual recall, having found a lump last year which proved to be a cluster of benign micro-cysts.

Although the tumour was described as “sizeable”, doctors believe the cancer cells have not yet spread to the breast tissue, which means she may not need chemotherapy.

The former Countryfile presenter told the paper: “It is quite good on the scale on cancers. But as with all tumours, until you are in there you never know.

“As it is, I am going to lose my breast. I trust that one day I will look down on it and think that was the fight of my life and I have the ultimate battle scar to prove it.”

She also urged other women to regularly check their breasts and not to be afraid to seek help.

She said: “We must, must, must check ourselves and seek help.

“Being scared of a diagnosis could be the thing which kills you. So learn what to look for and check, check, check.

Doctors are experts but only you can press a lump, know how it feels and think you should do something about it.”

What are the symptoms of breast cancer?

The NHS explains that the first symptom of breast cancer that most people notice is a lump or an area of thickened tissue in their breast.

Most breast lumps are not cancerous, but it's always best to have them checked by a doctor, noted the NHS.

You should see a GP if you notice any of the following:

  • a new lump or area of thickened tissue in either breast that was not there before
  • a change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
  • a discharge of fluid from either of your nipples
  • a lump or swelling in either of your armpits
  • a change in the look or feel of your skin, such as puckering or dimpling, a rash or redness
  • a rash (like eczema), crusting, scaly or itchy skin or redness on or around your nipple
  • a change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast

Breast pain is not usually a symptom of breast cancer.

How should I check my breasts?

The NHS notes that every woman's breasts are different in terms of size, shape and consistency. It's also possible for one breast to be larger than the other.

You should get used to how your breasts feel at different times of the month, as this can change during your menstrual cycle.

After the menopause, normal breasts feel softer, less firm and not as lumpy.

The NHS Breast Screening Programme has produced a 5-point plan for being breast aware:

  • know what's normal for you
  • look at your breasts and feel them
  • know what changes to look for
  • report any changes to a GP without delay
  • attend routine screening if you're aged 50 to 70

You should look at your breasts and feel each breast and armpit, and up to your collarbone. You may find it easiest to do this in the shower or bath, by running a soapy hand over each breast and up under each armpit.

You can also look at your breasts in the mirror. Look with your arms by your side and also with them raised.

If you do find changes in your breast that are not normal for you, it's best to see a GP as soon as possible.