A survey by Bupa and HCA Healthcare UK has suggested that almost six million women in the UK could be putting their health at risk by not checking their breasts, with many delaying seeking medical help for symptoms that could indicate breast cancer.

Over a third (34%) of women surveyed reported being discouraged from seeking help for breast concerns, as a result of fears about wasting the doctor’s time or embarrassment about their symptoms.

Eluned Hughes, Head of Public Health and Information at Breast Cancer Now, said:

It’s extremely concerning that millions of women in the UK aren’t checking their breasts regularly, and that many others would delay visiting their GP if they spotted something unusual.

The earlier breast cancer is detected, the more likely treatment is to be successful. It’s vital that all women are supported to know the signs and symptoms to look out for – like a lump, changes to the nipple, or dimpled skin – and to visit their doctor straight away if they’re concerned about any changes to their breasts. 

Our aim is that by 2050, everyone who develops breast cancer will live – and live well. But with breast cancer incidence continuing to rise, we need to do all we can detect more cases earlier.

Checking your breasts only takes a few minutes. There’s no special technique, and you can do it whenever suits you – whether you’re in the shower, or waiting for the kettle to boil. Just Touch Look Check: get to know what looks and feels normal for you, check regularly and report any unusual changes to your doctor. It could save your life.