Only 3% of women aware of five signs of breast cancer
JUST 3 per cent of women can name five warning signs of breast cancer, new research has shown.
The figures are part of a survey that also shows that just over a third – 37 per cent – examine their breasts regularly.
Breakthrough Breast Cancer today launches a new breast awareness guide to make sure women have a reminder of the signs and symptoms of the potentially fatal disease.
It highlights the charity’s current Touch Look Check (TLC) awareness campaign, which advises women to touch their breasts, look for any changes and if they spot anything unusual, consult their GP.
Audrey Birt, Scotland director at Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said: “These statistics should be a wake-up call for women everywhere.
“We already know that early diagnosis saves lives and that’s why it’s vital that every woman knows what to look for.
“Our free handy guide is something we can all keep in our bedside table or our handbag. Around 1,000 women in Scotland die every year from breast cancer.
“This is something that is just too important to forget.”
The TLC guide is also available by texting SIGNS to 84424.
The five most common signs of breast cancer are a lump, a change to skin texture, a rash or crusting, a change in the appearance of the nipple and nipple discharge.
Fiona MacKinnon, 45, from Castle Douglas, in Dumfries and Galloway, found a pucker on her left breast while she was trying on a dress in a shop. She did not know this was a symptom but decided to act on it and has since had a mastectomy.
She said: “I knew to look for lumps but what I saw wasn’t a lump. I sensed this was not right so quickly went to see my GP. I feel quite lucky because had it not been for the big mirror and bright light in the fitting room I would not have found it.
“So I want to see more women be aware of all the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and not leave it to luck like I did.”
Meanwhile, a separate report on women’s attitudes to breast cancer has shown that a third of women do not carry out the checks because of fear of finding an abnormality, while 90 per cent of those questioned said that the fear itself of contracting cancer was not a big enough motivator to get them to examine their breasts regularly.
The Breast Promise Report, commissioned with psychologist and breast cancer expert Professor Janet Reibstein, of the University of Exeter, has revealed only 10 per cent of women check their breasts regularly as a risk aversion tactic, and single women are the highest group – 53 per cent, that do not check their breasts regularly.
Prof Reibstein said: “Fear and anxiety do not always encourage better habits, especially if you don’t see yourself at much risk.
“Breast checking needs to start young. As a young woman, not only are you becoming conscious of your body, but it’s the point in your life when you set up routines that last a lifetime.”
The survey is based on 2,000 UK women aged 16 to 80.
The five most common signs of breast cancer are:
1 A lump
2 A change to skin texture
3 A rash or crusting
4 A change in the appearance of the nipple
5 Nipple discharge
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