According to the HSE, breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer in women in Ireland after skin cancer. It is most common in older women, but can affect people of all ages.

Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding died of breast cancer aged 39 in October 2021. Her former bandmates Cheryl, Kimberley Walsh, Nadine Coyle and Nicola Roberts joined the fans and supporters Race for Sarah’s life 5K run at the weekend to celebrate Harding’s life and raise money for breast cancer.

Speaking at an event in Hyde Park, Cheryl said it “feels like she’s not there at all”.

Nicola Roberts, Cheryl and Nadine Coyle take part in Race for Sarah’s Life. Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

In Sarah’s book Hear Me, which came out in 2021, she talked about how she was diagnosed with cancer.

“At first I thought it was just a cyst. I played a lot of guitar and thought the strap was irritating the area around my chest.

“The trouble was that the pain was getting worse. It became so strong that I could no longer sleep in bed. I slept on the couch taking painkillers like Smarties. I really overdid it, but the pain was incredible .. In the end, my skin started to bruise, and now I was terrified.”

Sarah wrote that finding out about her cancer was complicated by the fact that it was during the Covid lockdown.

“One day I woke up and realized that I was in denial.

“Yes, there was a lockdown, yes, there was a pandemic, but it was almost as if I used it as an excuse not to face the fact that something was very wrong.”

Sarah said she prayed through all the tests that it wasn’t cancer.

“I think the fact that I was in so much pain gave me some hope that this might not be the case. I read that cancerous lumps are often not painful, so I was hoping against hope that what I had was just a cyst of some kind.’

HSE.ie describes breast cancer symptoms to look out for:

  • A new lump or an area of ​​thickened tissue in the breast that was not there before
  • A change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
  • Bloody discharge from any of your nipples
  • Lump or swelling in any of your armpits
  • A dimple on the skin of the breast
  • A rash on or around the nipple
  • A change in the appearance of the nipple, for example, has sunk into the chest

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