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Oncology nurse creates shower tool to help women check their breasts

An oncology nurse has developed a new tool for women to check their breasts.
shower

An oncology nurse has created a novel new tool to help women check their breasts.

The 7 Step Shower Check is a waterproof hanger similar to a hospital do not disturb sign which can be placed in the shower, a recommended place to carry out a self-examination.

The tool was developed by Samantha Sloan, an oncology nurse at the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, and cancer charity Friends of the Cancer Centre.

Seven steps for safety

The front of the card lists the following 7-step examination to carry out once a month:

  • Put your left hand behind your head.
  • With your right hand, use the pads of your fingers to examine your left breast
  • An oncology nurse has created a novel new tool to help women check their breasts.


    The 7 Step Shower Check was developed by Samantha Sloan,
    an oncology nurse at the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust. 

    The 7 Step Shower Check is a waterproof hanger – similar to a hospital do not disturb sign – which can be placed in the shower, a recommended place to carry out a self-examination.

    The tool was developed by Samantha Sloan, an oncology nurse at the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, and cancer charity Friends of the Cancer Centre.

    Seven steps for safety

    The front of the card lists the following 7-step examination to carry out once a month:

    1. Put your left hand behind your head.
    2. With your right hand, use the pads of your fingers to examine your left breast in circular movements.
    3. Walk your fingers around your breast, checking all areas.
    4. Don’t forget to check your armpit and up to your collarbone.
    5. First feel lightly and then deeper.
    6. Repeat all stages for the right breast.
    7. Remember to include your armpit and collarbone on this side too.

     

    On the reverse are changes to look out for, including alterations in size or shape and skin texture, lumps or thickening, redness or rash and discharge from the nipple.

    Most common cancer

    Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Northern Ireland, with 2,800 women referred to the Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital in the last year alone.

    A report by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry earlier this year revealed diagnosis rates are expected to increase by 65% in the next 20 years.

    Ms Sloan said: ‘One of the recurring issues that I came across was that many women weren't checking their breasts on a regular basis.

    Starting a conversation 

    ‘For many it was down to not having the time, forgetting to do it, and even a fear of checking their breasts in case they found something.

    ‘I want the hangers to start a conversation locally with each of us encouraging each other – our mums, daughters, sisters and best friends – to get their own breast check hanger and to get into the habit of checking their breasts regularly.

    ‘It just takes 5 minutes, but those 5 minutes could save your life.’

    Pilot programme 

    Friends of the Cancer Centre funds the only clinical nurse specialist for breast cancer in Northern Ireland, and has created a pilot clinical nurse specialist training programme.

    This provides senior nurses in the Cancer Centre with advanced training necessary to apply for future specialist nursing posts when they become available.


    Further information

    Order a set of shower checker hangers

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