Yep you read it right, I am here to tell you all to go and check your boobs!
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and with cancer now affecting one in two people with over 12,000 cancer diagnoses being made made in Northern Ireland every year it is so important to be aware! I’ll also be sharing more about Standing Up To Cancer and how you can look after yourselves and be involved in research later in the month. By no means am I a cancer expert, yes I have first hand experience, but that is of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and how it affected me, so I am pulling information together from a few places I have found to share the message.
THIS BLOG POST IS NOT TO SCARE YOU BUT TO BREAK THE TABOO OF CANCER AND SHARE KNOWLEDGE; KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!
Cancer Focus NI shared that ‘around 1,300 women in Northern Ireland are diagnosed with breast cancer every year – approximately 80% of these are over the age of 50. But it can happen to both younger women and a small number of men. So whatever your age, being breast aware – knowing what is normal for you – makes sense.’
Coppafeel shared that in the UK:
- ‘1 in 8 women will be affected by breast cancer in their lifetime.
- Around 400 men are diagnosed every year.
- Breast cancer is still the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women under 40.*
- Every year in the UK, around 5,000 women under the age of 45 are diagnosed with breast cancer.*
*Statistics from Breast Cancer Care
Their research shows…
- Younger women aged 18-24 years old consistently check their boobs less than those 25-29 years old.
- Only 30% of women aged 18-29 years old check their boobs monthly.
- Only ⅓ of women would immediately visit their doctor upon discovering early signs and symptoms.
- Only half of young women are confident to start checking their boobs.
- 90% of 18-29 year olds believe it is important to raise awareness of breast cancer amongst young women.
- Women who are aware of CoppaFeel! Are more likely to check their breasts than those who are not aware.
- 9 out of 10 women think that cancer education should be on the national curriculum.’
Early Detection and Screening Saves lives!
There isn’t a strict method to check your boobs, so you can do it whatever way feels comfortable for you. Here is a simple explanation from CoppaFeel:
Are you a visual learner and need more? Check out this video with Rochelle Humes and Greg James on how to check your boobs, men need to check theirs too!
1. Know what is normal for you
Being breast aware simply means knowing what is normal for your boobs, as girls they will naturally change as part of your cycle each month (if you have periods). It is important to get to know the normal rhythm of your boobs so you will detect anything unusual quickly.
2. Look and Feel
Many of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer are changes you would only notice by looking at the appearance of your boobs. We recommend coppin’ a feel and taking a look during your checks.
3. Check regularly
We believe boob checking should be a monthly habit, so that you will notice any unusual changes quickly. By checking on a regular basis, you will also build confidence of knowing what is normal for you each month. Everyone has to start somewhere, so don’t worry if you’re not feeling confident straight away.
4. Collarbone and armpits
Breast tissue isn’t only found in your boobs. It reaches all the way up to your collarbone and underneath your armpit so this whole area should be checked each time too. This is the same for both men and women.
5. If in doubt, get it checked out
Your doctor is the only person who can refer you for further examination so we encourage people to visit their doctor after a week of monitoring the symptom if it doesn’t go away.
We recommend coppin’ a feel once a month either in the shower, when you are getting dressed, or lying down in bed – just make it part of your normal routine.
Roughly 400 men are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the UK, it’s the same technique for checking your ‘pecks’.
One of my favourite things about the CoppaFeel is that they will send you monthly texts to remind you to check your boobs! These are free for Vodafone users or your standard network rate (typically 10p +VAT) on Orange, T-Mobile, Three, O2 and other popular networks. If you are interested you can sign up to them here.
As well as signing up to the text reminders you can order your own Shower Sticker click here
There is a wide range of more information all about breast cancer over on the Coppafeel website and if you are interested to here where I first heard about Chris and this amazing charity and the background about it check out my post COPPAFEEL.
There are many ways you can show your support for breast cancer awareness and the fight against the disease:
- talk about cancer
- break the taboo
- check your boobs and know your normal
- share the simple checks and spread the word
- get checked out ASAP if you have any concerns
You can also fundraise, there are a range of different charities and I feel the charity you chose to support is very personal to you and your life. However if you wish to raise money for Coppafeel click here for more information.
If you are based in Northern Ireland like I am and what to support a local charity then you can do that through Cancer Focus NI. All money raised goes to vital research at our very own Queen’s University in Belfast. To find out more about how you can get involved with Cancer Focus NI call 028 9066 3281 or email our fundraising team firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or why not get involved with the ‘Girls Night In‘ Campaign? ‘Get the gals together for a Girls’ Night In! It could be a movie night, a pamper party, or a cocktail evening. Whatever you can think of… it’s up to you! You’ll be raising vital funds for pioneering breast cancer research at Queen’s University Belfast.’ Sign up here to receive your pink party pack and begin your pink preparations!