Kimberley Walsh, Nadine Coyle and Nicola Roberts all wished Sarah Harding a happy birthday as she turned 39 on Tuesday.

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Girls Aloud star Sarah revealed she was diagnosed with ‘advanced’ breast cancer in August, leading to an outpouring of support from her fans.

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Kimberley lead the tributes to her former band mate as she shared a series of throwback photos of the pair together from throughout their years in the group.

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Birthday: Kimberley Walsh, Nadine Coyle and Nicola Roberts all wished Sarah Harding a happy birthday as she turned 39 on Tuesday

Birthday: Kimberley Walsh, Nadine Coyle and Nicola Roberts all wished Sarah Harding a happy birthday as she turned 39 on Tuesday 

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She wrote: ‘Happy Birthday to our blonde bombshell and my fellow scorpion @sarahnicoleharding… love you so much ❤️❤️❤️’.

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Nadine commented on Kimberley’s post with a series of love hearts and then took to her Instagram Stories to share a post from a fan account wishing Sarah well.

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She wrote: ‘Happy birthday @sarahnicoleharding’ along with a series of throwback photos another account had shared. 

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Meanwhile, Nicola Roberts reposted Kimberley’s post to her Stories along with a blue love heart. 

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Band mates: Kimberley lead the tributes to her former band mate as she shared a series of throwback photos of the pair together from throughout their years in the group

Band mates: Kimberley lead the tributes to her former band mate as she shared a series of throwback photos of the pair together from throughout their years in the group

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Health: Girls Aloud star Sarah revealed she was diagnosed with 'advanced' breast cancer in August, leading to an outpouring of support from her fans.

Health: Girls Aloud star Sarah revealed she was diagnosed with ‘advanced’ breast cancer in August, leading to an outpouring of support from her fans.

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Kimberley wrote: 'Happy Birthday to our blonde bombshell and my fellow scorpion @sarahnicoleharding... love you so much ❤️❤️❤️'

Kimberley wrote: ‘Happy Birthday to our blonde bombshell and my fellow scorpion @sarahnicoleharding… love you so much ❤️❤️❤️’

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Sarah announced her shocking diagnosis in August along with a snap taken from her hospital bed, as she explained she’d been undergoing weekly chemotherapy sessions, but the cancer has spread to ‘other parts of her body.’

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She wrote: ‘Hi everyone, I hope you are all keeping safe and well during these uncertain times.

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‘I’ve not posted on here for so long, thank you to everyone who has reached out to check in on me, it really does mean a lot.

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‘I feel now is the right time to share what’s been going on. There’s no easy way to say this and actually it doesn’t even feel real writing this, but here goes. 

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Message: Nadine commented on Kimberley's post with a series of love hearts and then took to her Instagram Stories to share a post from a fan account wishing Sarah well

Message: Nadine commented on Kimberley’s post with a series of love hearts and then took to her Instagram Stories to share a post from a fan account wishing Sarah well

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‘Earlier this year I was diagnosed with breast cancer and a couple of weeks ago I received the devastating news that the cancer has advanced to other parts of my body.’

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Sarah continued: ‘I’m currently undergoing weekly chemotherapy sessions and I am fighting as hard as I possibly can. I understand this might be shocking to read on social media and that really isn’t my intention.

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‘But last week it was mentioned online that I had been seen in hospital, so I feel now is the time to let people know what’s going on and this is the best way I can think of to do so.

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‘My amazing mum, family and close friends are helping me through this, and I want to say a thank you to the wonderful NHS doctors and nurses who have been and continue to be heroes.

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Sending love: Meanwhile, Nicola Roberts reposted Kimberley's post to her Stories along with a blue love heart

Sending love: Meanwhile, Nicola Roberts reposted Kimberley’s post to her Stories along with a blue love heart

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‘I am doing my very best to keep positive and will keep you updated here with how I’m getting on. In the meantime I hope you’ll all understand and respect my request for privacy during this difficult time. Sending you all so much love….xx.’

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After Sarah announced her diagnosis, pop stars Cheryl, Nicola, Kimberley and Nadine – who enjoyed more than decade of chart-topping success with Sarah in Girls Aloud – reached out to their former bandmate.

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It came after Sarah disappeared from the public eye two years ago after achieving notoriety through her wild antics, explosive love affairs and a rehab stint in 2011.

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Posting on Twitter, Cheryl, 37, shared a single broken heart emoji, while Nadine, 35, insisted she will continue to support her old friend during the crisis.

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Sad: Sarah announced her shocking diagnosis in August along with a snap taken from her hospital bed

Sad: Sarah announced her shocking diagnosis in August along with a snap taken from her hospital bed

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She wrote: ‘I love you!! You have always been able to achieve miracles when needed!! I am here for the all ways & always will be!!!’

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Clearly shocked by Sarah’s diagnosis, Nicola, 35, tweeted: ‘It goes without saying that this is blindsiding. @SarahNHarding you’re so loved and supported.’

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Kimberley, 38, also sent her love to her former bandmate, writing: ‘My heart is broken. You are so strong and brave and we are with you every step of the way.’

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Girls Aloud – formed of Sarah, Cheryl, Nadine, Nicola and Kimberley – split in 2013, but were dogged by rumours of secret feuds within the band, with Cheryl, Nicola and Kimberley forming a notably closer bond.

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Moving: Sarah's bandmates Cheryl, Nicola, Kimberley and Nadine all shared their support for the star on Twitter following her shocking news

Moving: Sarah’s bandmates Cheryl, Nicola, Kimberley and Nadine all shared their support for the star on Twitter following her shocking news

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Sarah’s post also sparked an outpouring of support messages from stars, including Steps’ Ian ‘H’ Watkins who wrote: ‘Sending HUGE ❤️❤️❤️ Stay Strong xx We’re all behind you xx.’

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TOWIE’s Jess Wright also responded with a flurry of heart emojis, while singer Michelle Gayle wrote: ‘Love you honey. xxx’

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Bob Geldof’s daughter Fifi wrote: ‘Oh my angel… I’m so sorry to hear this awful news!!! Fight hard and look after yourself – please shout if I can help at all. Much love to you.’

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Kind: In her post, Sarah credited her 'amazing' mum Marie, her close friends and NHS staff with supporting her through her health battle (pictured in 2017)

Kind: In her post, Sarah credited her ‘amazing’ mum Marie, her close friends and NHS staff with supporting her through her health battle (pictured in 2017) 

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Choreographer Arthur Gourounlian – who is married to Big Brother star Brian Dowling – commented: ‘Je suit désolé. This is breaking my heart. Sending you all my love and here for you always, stay strong and stay positive ma cherie.’

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Great British Bake Off star Candice Brown added: ‘Sending so much love to you.’

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Hollyoaks star Gemma Merna also wrote: ‘Sending you lots of love Sarah,’ along with a love heart emoji.

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If you have been affected by this story, call Macmillan Cancer Support on 0808 808 00 00.

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Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world and affects more than two MILLION women a year

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Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. Each year in the UK there are more than 55,000 new cases, and the disease claims the lives of 11,500 women. In the US, it strikes 266,000 each year and kills 40,000. But what causes it and how can it be treated?

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What is breast cancer?

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Breast cancer develops from a cancerous cell which develops in the lining of a duct or lobule in one of the breasts.

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When the breast cancer has spread into surrounding breast tissue it is called an ‘invasive’ breast cancer. Some people are diagnosed with ‘carcinoma in situ’, where no cancer cells have grown beyond the duct or lobule.

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Most cases develop in women over the age of 50 but younger women are sometimes affected. Breast cancer can develop in men though this is rare.

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Staging means how big the cancer is and whether it has spread. Stage 1 is the earliest stage and stage 4 means the cancer has spread to another part of the body.

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The cancerous cells are graded from low, which means a slow growth, to high, which is fast growing. High grade cancers are more likely to come back after they have first been treated.

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What causes breast cancer?

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A cancerous tumour starts from one abnormal cell. The exact reason why a cell becomes cancerous is unclear. It is thought that something damages or alters certain genes in the cell. This makes the cell abnormal and multiply ‘out of control’.

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Although breast cancer can develop for no apparent reason, there are some risk factors that can increase the chance of developing breast cancer, such as genetics.

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What are the symptoms of breast cancer?

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The usual first symptom is a painless lump in the breast, although most breast lumps are not cancerous and are fluid filled cysts, which are benign. 

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The first place that breast cancer usually spreads to is the lymph nodes in the armpit. If this occurs you will develop a swelling or lump in an armpit.

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How is breast cancer diagnosed?

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  • Initial assessment: A doctor examines the breasts and armpits. They may do tests such as a mammography, a special x-ray of the breast tissue which can indicate the possibility of tumours.
  • Biopsy: A biopsy is when a small sample of tissue is removed from a part of the body. The sample is then examined under the microscope to look for abnormal cells. The sample can confirm or rule out cancer.

If you are confirmed to have breast cancer, further tests may be needed to assess if it has spread. For example, blood tests, an ultrasound scan of the liver or a chest x-ray.

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How is breast cancer treated?

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Treatment options which may be considered include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormone treatment. Often a combination of two or more of these treatments are used.

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  • Surgery: Breast-conserving surgery or the removal of the affected breast depending on the size of the tumour.
  • Radiotherapy: A treatment which uses high energy beams of radiation focussed on cancerous tissue. This kills cancer cells, or stops cancer cells from multiplying. It is mainly used in addition to surgery.
  • Chemotherapy: A treatment of cancer by using anti-cancer drugs which kill cancer cells, or stop them from multiplying
  • Hormone treatments: Some types of breast cancer are affected by the ‘female’ hormone oestrogen, which can stimulate the cancer cells to divide and multiply. Treatments which reduce the level of these hormones, or prevent them from working, are commonly used in people with breast cancer.

How successful is treatment?

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The outlook is best in those who are diagnosed when the cancer is still small, and has not spread. Surgical removal of a tumour in an early stage may then give a good chance of cure.

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The routine mammography offered to women between the ages of 50 and 70 mean more breast cancers are being diagnosed and treated at an early stage.

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For more information visit breastcancercare.org.uk, breastcancernow.org or www.cancerhelp.org.uk

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