Shining a light on – BOOBS!

Sophie Dopierala, Director of Education and Health Comms

10th December 2018

Knowing yours boobs could save your life. At CoppaFeel!, this has become not only our mantra but our mission. We’re a breast cancer education charity on a mission to educate young people on the signs and symptoms, encourage them to get to know their boobs/pecs and empower them to visit their GP if they spot something abnormal. We have taken a fresh approach to breast awareness, using bold campaigns, handy reminders and celebrities to target an age group normally excluded from the message.

We all know old habits die hard, so we focus our attention on influencing the behaviours of young people early on in life; encouraging them to make healthy habits part of their routine. Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers, affecting around 390 men and 55,000 women every year in the UK. So whatever age you are, getting to know your boobs and pecs is important.

We know GPs have an important role in diagnosing breast cancer early, we also know you can have a great influence on encouraging healthy habits. Research shows young women claim doctors have the most influence in encouraging those who aren’t checking their boobs, to start. That is why we’re here to support you with boob health conversations. Our Code of Breast Practice, provides guidance on how to talk to younger women about being breast aware. Our healthcare professional packs, provide you with materials to help educate and remind your patients. Our posters and digital slides help raise awareness to those who enter your surgery.

Young women aware of CoppaFeel! are 37% more likely to check their boobs regularly than those not aware. Many breast cancers are still found by women themselves through self-checking, so we know the earlier people spot something abnormal and take action, the better their chances of surviving and thriving if diagnosed.

“A few years ago I watched the documentary Kris: Dying to Live (about CoppaFeel!’s founder), and as a result joined up to their free text reminder service. Ever since I have checked my breasts monthly when I received the message and have been more aware of the signs and symptoms. Three years later I was travelling in Australia when I checked my boobs one evening in the shower and noticed my entire right breast felt harder than the left. There was no lump or other symptoms, I just thought the breast on the whole was less ‘squidgy’ than the other.

“Turns out it was cancer. Stage three, grade three, and had spread to my lymph nodes, I was 26. CoppaFeel! helped saved my life by reminding me to check and the documentary made me determined to pursue things until I had a conclusive answer.”

Asking your patients if they check their boobs/pecs could save their life. Next time you are sat with a young woman in a health check, contraceptive appointment or smear test, start the conversation, hand over some information and leave them feeling informed that they can do something to ensure they see the signs early!