30 September 2022

Breast Cancer Now’s ‘Get to know your normal’ campaign promotes regular breast checking

New research from leading research and support charity, Breast Cancer Now, has revealed 2 in 5 (41%) women in the UK do not check their breasts regularly* for possible signs and symptoms of breast cancer; worryingly, fewer women are regularly checking their breasts now compared with similar research from last year.*

When asked what stops or prevents them from regularly checking their breasts, the main reasons women gave included: forgetting to (42%), not being in the habit of checking their breasts (31%), lacking confidence in checking their breasts (18%), and 15% said they didn’t know how to check their breasts.

According to the YouGov survey commissioned by the charity, a quarter (27%) of those who do check their breasts for possible signs and symptoms of breast cancer, don’t feel confident that they would notice a new or unusual change in their breasts.

With breast cancer being the most common cancer in women in the UK and incidence rates rising* Breast Cancer Now is calling on all women to ‘get to know their normal’ by regularly checking their breasts, so that they are able to spot any new or unusual changes sooner.

This is so important because two thirds of breast cancers are found by women noticing new or unusual breast changes and getting these checked out by their GP. The sooner breast cancer is detected, the greater the potential of treatment being successful, and more lives being saved.

Manveet Basra, Head of Public Health and Wellbeing at Breast Cancer Now, says:

“Our latest research reveals that multiple barriers continue to prevent women from checking their breasts regularly for potential signs and symptoms of breast cancer – worse, fewer women regularly check their breasts now than a year ago.

“It’s so important that all women feel encouraged and empowered to attend breast screening appointments when invited, and to regularly check their breasts in between mammograms, as while most breast changes won’t be cancer, when they are, the sooner it is diagnosed, the better the chances of successful treatment.

“Checking your breasts only takes a few minutes, and we suggest that everyone checks their breasts regularly. It could be when you get dressed, when you’re showering or putting on moisturiser. It’s important to remember to check your whole breast area, your armpits and up to your collarbone (upper chest) for changes.

“There's no right way to check, as long as you’re doing it regularly. It’s as simple as TLC: Touch, Look, Check.”

For more information on the signs and symptoms of breast cancer visit breastcancernow.org/TLC

ENDS

Notes To Editors

*The 41% of women defined as not ‘regularly’ checking their breasts was made up of women responding that they checked their breasts at least once every 3 months; at least once every 6 months; at least once a year; less than once a year; or never. Alternatively, ‘regular’ breast checking included those who check their breasts at least once a week; at least once a month; and at least once every 6 weeks.

*In September 2021, 39% of women defined as not ‘regularly’ checking their breasts was made up of women responding that they checked their breasts at least once every 3 months; at least once every 6 months; at least once a year; less than once a year; or never. Alternatively, ‘regular’ breast checking included those who check their breasts at least once a week; at least once a month; and at least once every 6 weeks.

*Incidence trend data from: Cancer registration statistics, England. NHS Digital. Cancer Incidence in Scotland. Public Health Scotland. Breast cancer incidence, Welsh Surveillance and Intelligence Unit. Northern Ireland Cancer Registry, Queen's University Belfast.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2069 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 14th - 15th September 2022.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK females (aged 18+).

Asda Tickled Pink proudly funds Breast Cancer Now’s breast awareness work, including the Touch Look Check (TLC) campaign.

About Breast Cancer Now

  • Breast Cancer Now is the UK’s first comprehensive breast cancer charity, combining world-class research and life-changing support.
  • Breast Cancer Now’s ambition is that, by 2050, everyone who develops breast cancer will live and be supported to live well.
  • Breast Cancer Now, the research and support charity, launched in October 2019, created by the merger of specialist support and information charity Breast Cancer Care and leading research charity Breast Cancer Now.
  • Visit breastcancernow.org or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or on Facebook.
  • Anyone looking for support or information can call our free Helpline on 0808 800 6000 to speak to one of our expert nurses.