Women Urged To Check For Breast Cancer

6 October 2010, 05:30

During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a new survey by Breakthrough Breast Cancer shows nearly half (43%) of women in Norfolk and Suffolk are not checking their breasts regularly for signs and symptoms of breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the UK’s most commonly diagnosed cancer which currently affects nearly 46,000 women each year, with around 12,000 women dying of the disease.

The poll of 1000 women further showed that 1 in 4 women do not check their breasts regularly simply because forget to do so.  Most cases of breast cancer are found by women noticing unusual changes, taking the initiative and visiting their doctor. The earlier breast cancer is found, the better the chance of beating it – which is why it is vital that women make regular checks. 

Julie Collis is from Ipswich and was 42 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She only went to the doctor after a friend noticed a dimpling on her breast. She said before that she had never really checked. " I was aware that you really should check, but it's this busy, busy lifestyle where if you work full-time like I do, you don't think to necessarily do these things, but it is just so simple to do - even once a week just to check when you're in the shower.

She added, "I actually think it's important any age, because it's not a disease that hits one age group. I would say to any young woman out there to check, because you just never know and better to actually catch it than to leave it and miss it."

The survey also showed many women in East Anglia were also unaware of the key factors that could increase their risk of breast cancer:

The survey also showed many women in Suffolk and Norfolk were also unaware of the key factors that could increase their risk of breast cancer:

Nearly half of women (45%) did not know that drinking alcohol could increase their risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer

Half of women (50%) did not realise that being overweight or obese can increase the risk of breast cancer

46% of women did not realise that taking regular exercise could help reduce their risk of breast cancer

Dr Sarah Rawlings, Head of Policy at Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said, “These results clearly show that more work is needed to make sure that women are breast aware.  It is worrying that so many women don’t know drinking and putting on weight can increase the risk of breast cancer. We know that four out of 10 of all cancers are could be avoided if people adopted healthier lifestyles. That’s why we encourage all women to maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly and cut back on alcohol to reduce their risk of developing the disease.”

Dr Sarah Rawlings added, “Breast Cancer can develop at any time in a woman’s life so it is vital that all women are breast aware.  All you need to do is check your breasts regularly and be aware of what is normal for you and if you do spot anything unusual, get it checked out with your GP.”

Breakthrough’s ‘Touch. Look. Check’ breast awareness message is part of all its health promotion work and has been developed with involvement from the women the charity is working to support.

Love your breasts. Be breast aware. It’s as simple as TLC…
- Touch your breasts.  Have you noticed anything unusual?
- Look for changes.  Is there any change in shape or texture?
- Check anything unusual with your doctor.

For more information visit breakthrough.org.uk/tlc