01/10/2012 08:06 BST | Updated 12/10/2012 08:15 BST

Breast Cancer Awareness: Shocking Campaign To Spur Early Detection (PICTURES)

A groundbreaking campaign has been launched by the Scottish government to highlight the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.

The advert is the first in the UK to show real pictures of women’s breasts with visible signs of breast cancer.

It features Scottish actress Elaine C Smith, who lost her own mum to breast cancer, holding a series of placards illustrating the symptoms of breast cancer.

Signs Of Breast Cancer

The advert carries the message ‘Lumps aren’t the only sign of breast cancer’, so that women know how to spot the signs. It is part of the Scottish Government’s £30 million Detect Cancer Early drive, which aims to increase the early detection of cancer by 25%.

Scottish Government Health Secretary Alex Neil told HuffPost UK Lifestyle: "The TV ad has only been on air for a couple of weeks but it's getting people talking, and that's the first important step in encouraging women to see their GP about any changes to their breasts.

"Our objective is to instil people with the confidence to recognise potential signs and symptoms. With cancer being a rather taboo subject, it's important that we normalise discussion."

The campaign follows an announcement that an additional 12 million pounds of funding will made available to upgrade breast screening equipment across Scotland, to replace analogue mammography machines with digital units.

"For too many years women have been confused and scared about what to look for," said Elaine. “This campaign should help inform people about some of the signs related to breast cancer and encourage them to seek help."

Signs Of Breast Cancer

Research from Breakthrough Breast Cancer suggests only 2% of women can name five warning signs of breast cancer.

The YouGov survey of 1,000 women also found that fewer than half (45%) of women check their breasts regularly, with the most common reason among those who do not being that they simply forget (57%).

See also:

But Men Don't Get Breast Cancer, Right?

Women With Bigger Breasts Have Higher Risk Of Breast Cancer

Dr Sarah Rawlings, head of policy at Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said: "These statistics should be a wake up call for women everywhere.

"We already know that early diagnosis saves lives and that's why it's vital that every woman knows what to look for."

She added: "One thousand women die every month from breast cancer. This is something that is just too important to forget."

The five most common signs are:

:: A lump

:: A change to skin texture

:: A rash or crusting

:: A change in appearance of nipple

:: Nipple discharge


Finding breast cancer early could save your life. Know the signs, text TLC to 84424* for your free handy TLC guide from Breakthrough Breast Cancer, or register at (*Standard networks apply)