Survey reveals 46 per cent of women do not check their breasts regularly* or have never checked themselves for signs and symptoms of breast cancer. The majority of these women say the reason they don’t check is because they forget.

Thursday 29 September 2016      General Health information
Almost half of GB women don't check regularly for signs of breast cancer

New research carried out by Breast Cancer Now, the UK's leading breast cancer charity, reveals that while breast cancer remains the most common cancer in the UK, with more than 50,000 women diagnosed every year, an alarming 46 per cent do not personally check their breasts regularly or have never checked them at all.

Awareness of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer to look out for has grown steadily over the last few years thanks to campaigns like Breast Cancer Now’s TLC (Touch Look Check) and Five Signs of Breast Cancer**. However, the number one reason women don’t check more often remains simply that they forget. This year 43 per cent admitted forgetting and 37 per cent said they are not in the habit of checking.

Those between 18 and 24 check themselves the least (39 per cent check regularly compared to 46 per cent nationally) and London has the smallest proportion of women checking regularly (38 per cent), while the North West has the highest number in Britain (55 per cent).

Although there has been real progress in awareness about the importance of breast checking, Baroness Delyth Morgan, CEO at Breast Cancer Now, says there is still cause for concern:

“While we’re proud of the progress that we’ve made over the last decade since we started running our TLC campaign, these results are worrying. We all lead busy lives and, while it’s understandable that checking your breasts can easily get forgotten, spotting cancer early can make the difference between life and death, which is why we’ll keep reminding women how important it is.”

Breast Cancer Now is making it as easy as possible for women to remember to check themselves with the launch of the new Breast Check Now app.

The free app aims to help women get into the habit of checking their breasts regularly by setting up a plan that’s easy to remember and fits with women’s daily lives. As well as including all the information women need on the potential signs and symptoms to look out for, the app gives you regular reminders and enables you to keep a record of your checks to help you learn what’s normal for you and to see if anything changes.

Baroness Morgan said:

“Our free Breast Check Now app makes it easy to remember to check - you just set a plan for yourself that fits with your life. We believe if every woman regularly checked her breasts, 1,500 lives a year could be saved.

“Checking your breasts is simple, quick and easy, and you decide how often feels right. The main thing is that you do keep doing it.”

Breast Cancer Now is determined to stop breast cancer and save lives. If more women checked their breasts, more lives would be saved. While most breast changes aren’t cancer, in the cases where it is, catching it early means you’re more likely to beat it - so download our free app today and set your checking reminder. 

Find out more information about the free Breast Check Now app here.


*Regularly is about once a week or once a month

**In 2008, 30 per cent of women said they didn’t check their breasts because they didn’t know how to do it. That figure now stands at just 16 percent – we believe that our successful work promoting TLC’s simple health message has contributed greatly to this progress. Research carried out by Research Now! in June 2008, with 2005 women.