One in four women under 40 have never checked themselves for breast cancer

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A quarter of women under 40 have never checked themselves for breast cancer – assuming they are too young, don’t think it will affect them – or they are just too busy.

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And half of all women do not regularly check their breasts for signs of cancer.

A study of 2,000 women found that those between the ages of 18 and 39 were the least likely to show signs of cancer, with one tenth believing they were not old enough to be diagnosed with the disease.


But a quarter admit they don’t have the confidence to observe themselves, while one in 10 avoids it when they find a lump.

It also emerged that women from South Asian backgrounds were the least likely to test themselves compared to other ethnicities, with 40 percent admitting to never getting tested.

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This drops to 27 percent of black women and only 13 percent of other races.

More than a third of South Asian women who didn’t check for breast cancer symptoms said they forgot or didn’t know what they were looking for.

Whereas one in twenty (seven percent) do not feel comfortable checking themselves for cultural reasons.

It also emerged that compared to other races, black women were least likely to feel confident that they know how to check or what to look for (43 percent) and 15 percent fear being judged by others.

The poll was launched by the Estée Lauder Companies (ELC) UK and Ireland Breast Cancer Campaign, with the aim of being the world’s largest virtual self-check, with its second ‘Time to Unite’ event on Wednesday 20 October at 7 pm Has been doing. .

Elizabeth Hurley will be joined by Alisha Dixon and Victoria Derbyshire, as well as breast cancer survivors including Leanne Pero and Lauren Mahone, as Dr. Zoe Williams conducts a step-by-step self-examination demonstration.

Leanne Pero, breast cancer survivor and founder of Black Women Rising, said: “It concerns me that this new research shows that a fifth of women in black and South Asian communities wrongly believe that breast cancer is only found in the white middle-aged. affects women.

“While black women are less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer, they are more likely to develop aggressive, more advanced-stage breast cancer, which is diagnosed at a younger age and therefore more likely to die from the disease. happens more.

“I am living proof that you can avoid breast cancer if you act early.”

The research also found that overall, 14 percent of women never examine themselves for lumps or changes in their breasts that could be a sign of cancer.

And even among 83 per cent of people, a fifth (19 per cent) are not sure what they are looking for.

Female breast cancer is now the most commonly diagnosed cancer worldwide – overtaking lung cancer for the first time in 2020 – with an estimated 2.3 million new cases.

But a third of all women believe you can get breast cancer only in your 50s and just under a third think they are too ‘flat-chested’ to be affected.

Lauren Mahone, breast cancer survivor, founder of Girl vs Cancer and co-host of You, Me and the Big C, said: “It is incredibly important for young women to know that they are not immune to breast cancer; It is not just a disease that affects women at a later stage of life.

“It’s important to me that women understand that people with small breasts like me are also at risk for breast cancer.

“It’s scary to see that research found that a quarter of young women aren’t getting their breasts checked and a third think their breasts aren’t good enough to be cancer.

“From first experience knowing the importance of early diagnosis, I urge women of all ages to regularly check their breasts to find out what’s normal for them—it’s not about looking for cancer. It is knowing what is normal for your body.”

Barriers to seeing a doctor when a lump or change in the breasts vary – from a desire not to waste your doctor’s time, fear of not being taken seriously, worry that a female doctor will not be available, and Don’t want to know what caused the change.

The research also showed that many LGBT+, black and South Asian women believe there is a stigma in their community about breast cancer because it is not talked about; And, say there is a lack of representation in self-checking resources.

Eight in 10 (82 percent) believe there is a need for better access to tools and resources that facilitate a more diverse range of people, highlighting that breast cancer affects every body. could.

Sue Fox, President of ELC UK and Ireland, said: “Breast cancer is a diverse disease, not a one-story disease.

“This is a disease that affects everyone, and this year’s campaign is unwavering in uniting people to create a breast cancer-free world. It’s #TimeToEndBreastCancer.”



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