Half of all UK women are not checking themselves for signs of breast cancer, a worrying new survey suggests.

The survey was carried out by the charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer. In it 50% of women admitted to not regularly checking their breasts for symptoms of breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK, with almost 46,000 women and 300 men diagnosed with the disease every year.

Dr Palframan, from Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said: “Breast cancer is uncommon in women under the age of forty, however it’s important that all women get into good habits of checking their breasts, since most cases are found by women noticing unusual changes, taking the initiative and visiting their doctor.

“Breast cancer in men is relatively rare, but, as with women, younger men should carry out regular checks.”

This October, the official breast cancer awareness month, Breakthrough Breast Cancer have made it even easier for both men and women to check themselves by introducing the iBreastCheck application.

The results of the charity’s survey showed that one in four women do not check their breasts simply because they forget to do so, something which it is hoped the iPhone app can help with:

“It … aims to improve understanding of the risk factors associated with the disease, and enables women to set a regular reminder to check their breasts,” Breakthrough Breast Cancer say.

Touch, Look, Check

The free app, which the charity hope will make women more breast aware, features a video on the Touch, Look, Check (T.L.C.) method they promote, as well as an interactive quiz and a personalised iBreastCheck alert to remind women to check themselves.

The Risk Report quiz allows women to assess their risk of getting the disease based on their lifestyle, family history and their environment.

DJ and presenter Edith Bowman has commended the app and the work Breakthrough Breast Cancer do: “My mum survived breast cancer — we were lucky to catch it so early. So the work that Breakthrough Breast Cancer does is incredibly close to my heart.

“Many women aren’t checking their breasts because they either don’t think they are at risk, don’t know how to check themselves, or just simply forget to do it. It’s fantastic that Breakthrough Breast Cancer has developed iBreastCheck specifically with all these considerations in mind. I’ll have it to remind me to check and hopefully thousands of women will do the same,” she says.

The earlier breast cancer is found, the better the chance of beating it. By using the simple T.L.C. method of checking, any unusual changes are easily noticeable.

  • Touch to feel for anything usual
  • Look for changes in shape and texture
  • Check out anything unusual with your Doctor

Whilst it is vital to look out for lumps, the charity advises anyone who finds any signs of a lump not to worry as in most cases, they aren’t cancerous.

So what are you waiting for? Give yourself a little TLC!

Let us know what are you doing to raise money and awareness this month — email stephanie.bolton@thelinc.co.uk

The results of the survey also showed that…

  • More than half of women (53%) did not know that drinking alcohol could increase their risk of breast cancer
  • Almost half of women (47%) did not realise putting on weight or being obese can increase the risk of breast cancer
  • 44% of women did not realise that taking regular exercise could help reduce their risk of breast cancer.