Breast cancer cases up 33% in ten years: Irish Cancer Society

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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File photo. Image: Matt Rourke / AP/Press Association Images

The Irish Cancer Society is urging everyone to be breast aware all year round and watch out for the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.

Marking 'Paint It Pink Day', Head of Fundraising at the Society Mark Mellett says most recent figures showed that 2,983 people received a breast cancer diagnosis in 2013 - up 33% from 2003.

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers and while it primarily affects women, men are also at risk, with 41 males diagnosed in 2013.

Signs and symptoms of breast cancer include a change in size or shape such as one breast becoming larger than the other, change in the skin such as puckering, dimpling or redness and swelling in the armpit and around collarbone.

Earlier this month, the society called for the enactment and strengthening of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015. It claims over one-in-ten breast cancer cases and deaths are caused by alcohol.

“There is widespread scientific evidence of the link between alcohol and breast cancer, but little public awareness of it. In 2013, in Ireland 12% of breast cancers were caused by alcohol – that’s 353 cases a year. In the same year 69 women died from a breast cancer caused by alcohol," Donal Buggy, Head of Services and Advocacy, at the Irish Cancer Society said.

 “The message is to drink less. Of the 900 new cancers each year related to alcohol, half of them could be prevented if people drank within the Department of Health’s guidelines.”