Happy October! This month is Breast Cancer Awareness month and the week of 5-9th October is also Backcare awareness week.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month
The aim of breast cancer awareness month is to raise awareness and money that will provide life-changing care, research and support for all those individuals and families affected by breast cancer (Breast Cancer Now).
There are approximately 55,200 new breast cancer cases in the UK every year which totals to around 150 every day (2015-2017) according to Cancer Research UK.
Regular check-ups and mammograms (every 3 years) are offered for people aged 50-71 if you are registered with a GP (NHS UK). You can detect early breast cancer by completing monthly breast self-examinations, examinations carried out by a qualified healthcare professional and mammograms (National Breast Cancer Org). If detected and diagnosed early and treatment is available, there is a good chance that breast cancer can be cured (World Health Organisation). Possible signs and symptoms of breast cancer are (Macmillan Cancer Support):
- a lump in the breast
- thickening of the skin or tissue of the breast, or dimpling of the skin of the breast
- a lump or swelling in either armpit
- a change in the shape or size of the breast, such as swelling in all or part of the breast
- a nipple turning in (inverted nipple)
- a rash (like eczema) on the nipple
- discharge or bleeding from the nipple
- pain or discomfort in the breast that does not go away, but this is rare.
It is important to discuss and get these checked by your GP if you notice any of the above symptoms.
Backcare awareness week 5-9th October
Backcare awareness week for 2020 is focussing on back pain in nursing – why not head over to their website (https://backcare.org.uk/) to access information, updates, booklets, posters and magazines regarding back pain in the nursing profession.
As the majority of us are now spending more time at home due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we are generally more stationary and some of us may be working from home. There are a few things that you may want to have a think about with regards to working from home and preventing back pain.
In Augusts’ blog we already discussed the correct desk posture however, you could also request an ergonomic assessment through your employer to put measures in place to further prevent musculoskeletal issues. Adjustable standing desks are now available to vary your working posture throughout the day i.e. changing from sitting to standing and although research is still in early stages, it does appear that using a standing desk benefits your health (Healthline). You may also benefit from taking small regular breaks away from your desk to increase your attention, productivity and quality of your work, it may help to also reduce the likelihood of back, neck, shoulder and arm pain (Posture Group). Try to take your full lunch time period away from your desk, you could even try to make a conscious effort to go for a short brisk walk instead of sitting down or watching TV?
If your job involves lifting, please ensure you are up-to-date with manual handling training/guidance/regulations. However, below is some basic lifting guidance from The Health and Safety Executive that you may want to consider:
- Think before lifting/handling i.e. plan the lift – think about equipment that may assist the lift. Remove obstructions on the route.
- Adopt a stable position. The feet should be apart with one leg slightly forward to maintain balance (alongside the load, if it is on the ground).
- Get a good hold of the object/item, think about ‘hugging’ the load as this will provide more stability.
- Start in a good posture. At the start of the lift, slight bending of the back, hips and knees is preferable to fully flexing the back (stooping) or fully flexing the hips and knees (squatting).
- Don’t flex the back any further while lifting. This can happen if the legs begin to straighten before starting to raise the load.
- Keep the load close to the body for as long as possible whilst lifting
- Avoid twisting the back or leaning sideways, especially while the back is bent
- Keep your head up so that you can see where you are going
- Move smoothly
- Don’t lift or handle more than can be safely lifted – seek advice or get help.
- If you need to change position of the load, put down it down first then adjust to the desired position.
Article written by Georgia Smith
References (all accessed October 2020 – in order as article is written):
- Cancer Research UK, https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/breast-cancer#heading-Zero, Accessed October 2020