It’s safe to say that you probably haven’t went a single day since March 2020 without seeing or saying something to do with Covid-19. However, amidst the noise of this infectious disease, the tragedy of another deadly ‘C’ word still remains.
Despite the unprecedented state of the world right now, Breast Cancer Now, the team at the UK’s first comprehensive breast cancer research charity, are still working around the clock to support the 150 women that get diagnosed with breast cancer every day in the UK.
Established in 2019, the charity makes it abundantly clear that the NHS is still ‘open for business’ and wants people to still come forward with any health concerns they may have without the guilt of being a burden to the health service.
Manveet Basra, Head of Public Health and Wellbeing at Breast Cancer Now, wants women to know that, “I can assure you that surgeries have safety measures in place to minimise the risk of the spread of COVID-19 and your GP wants you to get any breast changes checked out without delay.
“The statistic of one in 10 women have never checked their own breasts really shocked me. Breast checking is quick, easy, and can help detect any breast cancer early, giving treatment the best chance of working.”
Janet Briars, Head of the Nottingham Breast Cancer Support group, also reinforces the message of self checking, pandemic or not.
Janet said: “It is vitally important to regularly check your breasts and that applies to men as well as women.”
“Our support group is not meeting at the moment, but our volunteers will chat to anyone who is struggling”.
With the help of Manveet Basra, we have collated a handy step-by-step guide that will help you check your breasts at home:
There is no special technique
“Get to know your breasts and what’s normal for you, so you can spot any new or unusual changes, and remember to check all parts of your breasts, your armpits and up to your collarbone for changes. This should form part of your daily routine such as in the shower or when you apply moisturiser”.
What to feel for
“Feel for irregular lumps (which can be relatively small) that can be ranging from firm, solid and tender.”
Be aware of the other breast cancer signs
“Many women may know that a lump can be a possible symptom of breast cancer, but it’s vital to know that there are other signs to be aware of too. This could be nipple discharge, dimpling or puckering of the skin of the breast, the breast looking red or inflamed, or swelling in the upper chest or armpit.”
What you should do if you notice any of these changes
“Most breast changes won’t be cancer; however, you should get any new or unusual breast changes checked by the GP right away.”
GroovyBoobs business owner, Bethany, is also a passionate advocate of checking your body and reveals how a monthly text from Coppafeel encouraged her to spread the important message in her product packages.
She said: “This is something that we all should do. When people order my products the first thing they see is the Coppafeel information card which hopefully means that it sticks in people’s minds.”
Bethany runs her own Etsy shop which sells quirky handmade boob pots inspired by the beauty of the female form and the desire to desexualise women’s bodies with a ‘groovy little twist’.
“I’m just one girl trying to save the world one boob at a time”.
For further information or support you can speak to one of the expert nurses at Breast Cancer Now’s free Helpline on 0808 800 6000 or visit breastcancernow.org/tlc
To check out Bethany’s Etsy shop, visit Handmade groovy boob pots for your groovy self by Groovyboobs (etsy.com)
By Chloe Keys