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Dame Jenni Murray health: Full Monty On Ice star discusses breast cancer journey

Loose Women: Dr Heaversedge explains breast cancer symptoms

Dame Jenni Murray will join a line-up of celebrities who are skating scantily clad on ice tonight as part of ITV’s Real Full Monty On Ice. The show will see celebrities attempt to pull off a skating and dancing routine on ice wearing next to no clothing in a bid to raise awareness about cancer and the ways it can show on intimate areas of the body. Dame Jenni, who is best known for hosting the Radio 4 programme Woman’s Hour, has revealed her personal motivations for taking part.

The BBC host aims to raise awareness of the importance of checking for cancer.

She developed breast cancer herself, resulting in a mastectomy in 2007.

Opening about her decision to take part, the Radio 4 programme presenter said it was time to “put my money where my mouth is”.

Speaking to the Radio Times, Dame Jenni recalled initially balking at at her agent’s suggestion that she take part.

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She said: “‘Don’t be ridiculous!… I’m not baring my one remaining breast to the entire nation.’

“And then I thought about it. The Full Monty is probably my favourite film ever. I thought, ‘Come on, Jenni. You’ve been talking about breast cancer for donkey’s years.'”

The presenter explained the subject constantly cropped up Woman’s Hour, with listeners regularly being encouraged to check their breasts.

Dame Jenni opened up about the onslaught of medical procedures she has undergone over the years, including a mastectomy and stomach surgery.

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She made the point that having invasive procedure after the next should have made her battle-hardened by now.

Taking her bra off is hardly a big deal in contrast, she said.

Dame Jenni has been cancer-free for 14 years now, and told the publication she dislikes being termed a “survivor”, preferring “recovered” instead.

How common is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK – most women diagnosed with breast cancer are over the age of 50, but younger women can also get breast cancer.

According to the NHS, about one in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime.

Fortunately, there’s a good chance of recovery if it’s detected at an early stage.

“For this reason, it’s vital that women check their breasts regularly for any changes and always have any changes examined by a GP,” advises the NHS.

So, what should I be looking for?

According to Cancer Research UK, the first symptom of breast cancer most people notice is a lump in their breast or some thickening.

Breast symptoms to look out for:

  • A new lump or thickening in your breast or armpit
  • A change in size, shape or feel of your breast
  • Skin changes in the breast such as puckering, dimpling, a rash or redness of the skin
  • Fluid leaking from the nipple in a woman who isn’t pregnant or breast feeding
  • changes in the position of the nipple.

As Cancer Research UK points out, these symptoms listed here are more often caused by other medical conditions.

“But if you have any of them it is important to see your doctor,” advises the charity.

It adds: “The earlier a cancer is picked up, the easier it is to treat it and the more likely the treatment is to be successful.”

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