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Half of women 'don't check breasts'

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Almost half of women do not regularly check their breasts for possible cancerous tumours, a poll suggests.

Most cases of the disease are found by women noticing unusual changes in their breasts but 45% do not check themselves on a regular basis, according to a new survey conducted by charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

The poll, conducted on 1,000 women from across the UK to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month, also found that only 9% felt “very confident” they would notice a change when checking their breasts.

And only 6% of respondents could identify five or more common symptoms of the disease without any prompting. But when presented with a list of symptoms, 75% were able to correctly pick out five symptoms.

The charity is encouraging women to remember to touch, look and check (TLC) their breasts.

Eluned Hughes, Breakthrough Breast Cancer’s head of public health, said: “It’s shocking that despite being the most common cancer in the UK, nearly half of British women do not check their breasts regularly, and nearly all of them still cannot think of five common signs and symptoms of breast cancer without prompting. Breakthrough is working hard this Breast Cancer Awareness Month to help everyone remember to TLC.

“What’s interesting - and encouraging - is that three quarters of our survey respondents could pick out five signs and symptoms when presented with a list; if every woman in the UK had one of our free TLC guides in their handbag, just imagine what a difference this would make to breast awareness.

“We know that early diagnosis saves lives, so it’s incredibly important women know what to look for, and more, that they remember to look.”

The five most common signs are:

:: A lump

:: A change to skin texture

:: A rash or crusting

:: A change in appearance of nipple

:: Nipple discharge

A separate poll conducted by beauty company Avon found that almost a third of mothers (31%) have never spoken with their daughters about breast awareness.

And a third of mothers questioned stated they lacked the correct knowledge or confidence to openly discuss breast awareness issues with their daughters.

“By providing mothers with the right tools and information to pass on this important habit to their daughters, we believe it could have a significant impact on the early detection of breast cancer,” said Avon UK’s general manager Andrea Slater.


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