October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and pink the colour used to represent it. We all agree that prevention is better than cure. And regular checks of breast tissue for both women and men is one way to get help early. But what if you don’t know what’s normal for you?
We know that all women between 50-71 are called for regular screening but what about younger women – and men? And more to the point, what can we as a Club do about raising awareness in younger people? By holding a ‘Pink Popup’ stall one Saturday morning in Kenilworth. Decorating it with pink bras certainly attracted a lot of attention. Once folk realised that we weren’t selling the bras, they were very happy to chat to us!
As always, we needed to be sensitive as most of us know someone who has or had breast cancer. And people shared some very sad stories with us. Given the statistics, this is no surprise.
- Breast cancer is the commonest type of cancer in women
- 1 in 7 women will be affected by breast cancer in their lifetime.
- Around 400 men are diagnosed every year.
- Around 2,300 women are diagnosed aged 39 or under.
- In females aged 25-49, breast cancer is the most common cancer, accounting for more than 4 in 10 (44%) of all cases in 2014-2016.
*Statistics from Cancer Research UK and Breast Cancer Now
So, what can we do to raise awareness in younger people?
When we’re young we think we’re invincible. That breast cancer is something that happens to older women, and did we know it could affect men? CoppaFeel is a charity that aims to encourage and educate especially young people to get to know their breast (and pecs). And therefore, give them the best chance of getting treatment and surviving.
How successful was our Pink Pop Up stall?
It was great to get such positive reactions from what we were doing. We gave out over 50 leaflets and encouraged people to use the QR code instead of taking a paper copy. In fact, we packed up slightly earlier than planned as we ran out of the CoppaFeel information cards! One lady, a teacher, was delighted to take away the idea of using the material for PHSE (Personal, Health, Social and Economic education) sessions in her school. Other mums and aunties, dads too, planned to get their daughters to use the monthly prompt available on the CoppaFeel website. And share it with their friends.
And we didn’t need to burn any of the bras!!!
If you think you know someone who could do with a regular prompt to ‘check normal’, do get them to log onto CoppaFeel’s website. There’s loads of really useful information on it.