Sarah Harding’s first signs of breast cancer and other symptoms you should never ignore

Girls Aloud are reuniting today in honour of their late bandmate Sarah Harding.

Nicola Roberts, Kimberley Walsh, Nadine Coyle and Cheryl Tweedy have teamed up with Cancer Research to host a special charity event called Race for Life for Sarah.

Sarah tragically died in September 2021 after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Announcing the heartbreaking news to Instagram at the time, Sarah’s mum Marie, said: “It’s with deep heartbreak that today I’m sharing the news that my beautiful daughter Sarah has sadly passed away.

“Many of you will know of Sarah’s battle with cancer and that she fought so strongly from her diagnosis until her last day.”

As Girls Aloud reunite in her memory, here’s the first signs of breast cancer that Sarah spotted and the other symptoms that are important to look out for.

After sharing the news in August 2020 that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, Sarah Harding opened up about the early symptoms that she initially dismissed.

In her book Hear Me Out, the Girls Aloud singer wrote candidly about her experience with breast cancer.

She revealed that she had had felt pain around her breast but wrote it off as a cyst because she was in “denial”.

Sarah wrote: “At first I thought it was just a cyst. I’d been playing my guitar a lot, and I thought the strap had probably irritated an area around my breast.

“The trouble was, the pain was getting worse. It got so bad that I couldn’t sleep in a bed any more. I slept on the sofa, popping painkillers like they were Smarties.

“I really overdid it, but the pain was overwhelming. Eventually, my skin started to bruise, and by now I was terrified.”

She continued: “One day I woke up realising that I’d been in denial.

“Yes, there was a lockdown, yes, there was a pandemic, but it was almost as if I’d been using that as an excuse not to face up to the fact that something was very wrong.

“All through the tests, I was, of course, praying that it wasn’t cancer.

“I think the fact that what I had was so painful gave me some hope it might not be. I’d read that cancer lumps are often not painful, which is why I was hoping against hope that what I had was just a cyst of some kind.”

Symptoms of breast cancer to look out for

Like Sarah, the first symptom of breast cancer that most women notice is a lump or an area of thickened tissue in their breast.

Not all lumps are cancerous, but it’s important to have them checked by a doctor.

Don’t forget men can also get breast cancer, so blokes also need to check themselves regularly.

According to the NHS, some other signs of breast cancer to look for include:

A change in the size or the shape of one or both breasts
Discharge of fluid from your nipple
A change in the look or feel of your skin, such as a rash, redness, puckering or dimpling
An eczma-like rash, crusting, scaly or itchy skin or redness on or around your nipple
A change in how your nipple looks, such as becoming sunken
A lump or swelling in either of your armpits
Breast pain in not usually a symptom of breast cancer, but it was for Sarah.

If you think something could be wrong, or you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above then you should see a GP.