Friday 31 October 2014

New app aims to help women with breast-cancer diagnosis

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A NEW and free app, designed to help women understand the nature of their breast pain in consultation with their GP, is now available.

It comes from the cancer section of the Health Service Executive (HSE), and describes simple measures women can take to manage breast pain.

Dr Susan O'Reilly, who heads cancer services in the HSE, said breast pain is a common complaint, and that it affects most women at some time in their life.

"Naturally, breast pain can cause women to worry, but breast pain, on its own, is not usually a symptom of cancer. The level of breast pain is different for each woman. It can range from mild discomfort to severe -- enough to affect their quality of life.

"The new app provides a diary that can be filled in daily, or as appropriate, to record the level and type of pain. In this way the pattern of the pain can be graphically viewed and understood."

It is aimed at comple-menting the breast pain booklet and manual diary which were developed in 2011. These booklets are routinely given to any woman when she presents at her GP surgery and has been told -- following a clinical examination -- that there are no breast concerns.

The lifetime risk for women in Ireland developing breast cancer is one in ten.

Nine in ten women do not develop breast cancer.

The booklet and the app describe simple measures a woman can take to manage her breast pain, including taking exercise, being a healthy weight, reducing caffeine intake before their period, wearing a good- fitting bra, and taking simple analgesia when the pain is at its worst. Sometimes evening primrose oil can help.

The app explains to women how to be 'breast aware,' and also highlights the other types of breast problems that do require urgent medical attention.

The app can be downloaded as follows: Scan the QR code that is printed on the Breast Pain Booklet / Visit the Apple / Android market and search for 'NCCP Breast Pain App'

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