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Breast cancer doesn’t only affect older women

Around 390 men are diagnosed every year along with around 1 2,000 women under the age of 40.


Breast cancer is commonly thought of as a disease that only affects women over 50.

Although the statistics show on average a quarter of new cases were in people aged 75 years and over, young women and men can also receive the life changing news of a breast cancer diagnosis. Around 390 men are diagnosed every year along with around1 2,000 women under the age of 40.2 The figures may be smaller but the impact on their lives is just as big.

The conversation of checking your boobs/pecs should start from a younger age with all genders.

At CoppaFeel!, we believe the conversation of checking your boobs/pecs should start from a younger age with all genders. We’re a breast cancer education charity on a mission to educate young people on the signs and symptoms, encourage them to get to know their boobs/pecs and empower them to visit their GP if they spot something abnormal. We have taken a fresh approach to breast awareness, using bold campaigns and handy reminders to target an age group normally excluded from the message.

We all know old habits die hard, so we focus our attention on influencing the behaviours of young people early on in life; encouraging them to make healthy habits part of their routine. Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers, affecting around 390 men and 55,000 women every year in the UK.3 So whatever age you are, getting to know your boobs and pecs is important.

Young women aware of CoppaFeel! are 37% more likely to check their boobs regularly than those not aware.4 Many breast cancers are still found by women themselves through self-checking, so we know the earlier people spot something abnormal and take action, the better their chances of surviving and thriving if diagnosed.5

Although the disease affects more females, we need to ensure men are also informed and vigilant when it comes to getting to know their bodies and more importantly their chests. Having the knowledge of how to check and the signs to be aware of, could not only benefit them personally but also the women in their lives. As a breast cancer community, we need to ensure the message is inclusive to everyone, regardless of age and gender. This needs to extend to healthcare professionals too. We know GPs have an important role in diagnosing breast cancer early, we also know they can have a great influence on encouraging healthy habits. Research shows young women claim doctors have the most influence in encouraging those who aren’t checking their boobs, to start. That is why we’re 6 here to support healthcare professionals with breast health conversations. Our Code of Breast Practice, provides guidance on how to talk to younger women about being breast aware. Our healthcare professional packs, provide materials to help educate and remind your patients. Our posters and digital slides help raise awareness to those who enter your surgery.

Here’s why it matters, meet Charlotte…

“A few years ago I watched the documentary Kris: Dying to Live (about CoppaFeel!’s founder), and as a result joined up to their free text reminder service. Ever since I have checked my breasts monthly when I received the message and have been more aware of the signs and symptoms. Three years later I was travelling in Australia when I checked my boobs one evening in the shower and noticed my entire right breast felt harder than the left. There was no lump or or other symptoms, I just thought the breast on the whole was less ‘squidgy’ than the other. Turns out it was cancer. Stage three, grade three, and had spread to my lymph nodes, I was 26. CoppaFeel! helped saved my life by reminding me to check and the documentary made me determined to pursue things until I had a conclusive answer.”

For more information on resources to support healthcare professionals, please visit https://coppafeel.org/at-surgeries/

 


 

1 Statistic from Cancer Research UK website, January 2018
2 Statistic from Cancer Research UK website, January 2018
3 Statistic from Cancer Research UK website, October 2017
4 CoppaFeel! Annual Research April 2018
5 Cancer Research UK website, October 2017
6 CoppaFeel! Annual Research April 2018

 

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