GIRLS Aloud star Sarah Harding urged fans to check their breasts for signs of cancer in the months before her death.
Sarah's mum announced on Sunday the star had died of breast cancer, after a diagnosis in August 2020.
Sarah said she had been experiencing pain in her breast, thinking it was a cyst. But then her skin started to bruise, which left her "terrified".
The singer, who rose to fame in 2002 after being a contestant on Popstars: The Rivals, admitted she'd used the Covid lockdown "as an excuse not to face up to the fact that something was very wrong".
She was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer and told she would unlikely make it to Christmas 2021.
Sarah underwent a mastectomy and chemotherapy in a bid to prolong her life.
"Please girls – please everyone – don't let anything get in your way – get checked out if you're worried about something," she wrote in Hear Me Out, published in March 2021.
"Of course, I can't know for sure, but I believe that if I'd got things moving with appointments and check-ups faster than I did, I'd probably be in a better place than I am now.
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK and often affects women over 50 although anyone can develop it – even men.
Around one in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer, although recovery chances are high if detected early.
What are the signs and symptoms?
According to Breast Cancer Now, the signs of breast cancer include:
- A lump or swelling in the breast, upper chest or armpit
- A change to the skin, such as puckering or dimpling
- A change in the colour of the breast – the breast may look red or inflamed
- A nipple change, for example it has become pulled in (inverted)
- Rash or crusting around the nipple
- Unusual liquid (discharge) from either nipple
- Changes in size or shape of the breast
- Pain in the breast or armpit – although this alone is not usually a sign of breast cancer, look out for persistent pain that's there all the time
You should see a doctor if you notice any change to the breast. Even though it probably is not cancer, catching it early will improve the odds of survival.