Why does CoppaFeel! target young people when they aren’t at high risk?
We are the first breast cancer charity in the UK to create awareness amongst young people, with the aim of instilling a new healthy habit that could one day save their life. Most information concerning breast cancer and cancer more generally is targeted at older men and women who may be at higher risk. We believe these conversations should be starting earlier, so younger people are equipped with the tools and the knowledge to be proactive about their own health and given the best chance of detecting cancer early, now and in the future. We want to set people on the right path and give them the information to make informed decisions early on about their health.
Why does CoppaFeel! promote regular boob checking, when evidence shows it does not mean you are more likely to detect cancer early?
Around half of female invasive breast cancer cases in England are diagnosed via the two-week wait referral route, where symptoms have been self-detected and reported*. This shows that it is important for women to be educated, as breast screening services only cover women (not men) from 50-70 years old in England. The action of self-checking is something that everyone can carry out, whatever gender or age you are. Even though there isn’t evidence to prove that the act of self-checking can reduce your risk or definitely improve your chances of detecting breast cancer early; it does help to improve your confidence that you know your body and are regularly in tune with any changes to your health. Forming a habit means you are more likely to maintain the action and remember to self-check, which could potentially save your life.
*Stat Cancer Research UK
How does CoppaFeel! ensure their information is accurate?
The CoppaFeel! team makes sure all information and advice is in line with NHS guidance. We also work with other UK based breast cancer charities to reduce confusion around breast awareness messaging to make certain our information is clear and accurate for our target audience. The CoppaFeel! Medical Advisory Group is also responsible for offering advice and support around our health communications. You can meet the current members here.
Why does CoppaFeel! just target women with their message?
Our message is for everyone. Anyone regardless of gender can be diagnosed with breast cancer so it is important that our work is inclusive. While cis-women are more likely to be affected by breast cancer, roughly 400 men are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the UK and trans* and non-binary peoples have been reported to experience a higher incidence of late-stage diagnosis due to healthcare access issues or avoidance. Our job is to ensure that everyone with breast tissue (that’s everyone) has the knowledge they need to check their boobs, pecs or chest regularly.
Why does CoppaFeel! engage with primary care staff?
We know from our research that doctors and medical professionals are highly influential in prompting the first check for young women. Most young women are visiting their doctors for contraceptive appointments and cervical screening, so it is a natural point to also talk to them about their breast health. They also have an important role, as if you find a sign or symptom you must visit your doctor first in order to gain a referral to a breast clinic.
About Breast Cancer
How can I reduce my risk of breast cancer?
Research shows that 23% of breast cancers are thought to be preventable through lifestyle choices.* This means there are some choices you can make to reduce your risk, such as not smoking, eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly and keeping alcohol consumption to the recommended limit. If you would like more detailed information about how to reduce your risk of not just breast cancer, but all cancers, then visit Cancer Research UK’s website.
*Stat Cancer Research UK
There is a lot of information out there about breast cancer and what can cause it – what do I believe?
Be smart and make sure you are looking at trusted sources, such as the NHS, Cancer Research UK and Breast Cancer Care. We understand there are lots of confusing messages out there but make sure you don’t believe everything you read and look for official guidance and updates on the sites mentioned above.
I don’t have a family history of breast cancer, am I still at risk?
Breast cancer can be caused by a genetic mutation, which can considerably increase your risk of having the disease. However, it is less than 10% of breast cancer cases where a link to family history is found. This means there is still a risk of getting breast cancer even if it isn’t in your family.
About Checking Your Chest
Why does CoppaFeel! say there is not a correct way to check when there is a routine called breast self examination?
Breast Self Examination or BSE used to be promoted in the UK and is still currently advised in the USA. However, the NHS now advises that people should be breast aware. This simply means, getting to know your boobs and checking regularly in order to get to know what normal feels like for you. We give guidance around the areas you should be checking, how often and what signs and symptoms to be aware of, however you can use whatever method is comfortable for you.
I have heard you should check your boobs lying down – is this true?
There have been stories in the media about cases where symptoms were detected lying down. This is one way you can check your boobs, but you don’t have to carry out your check this way. Your boobs will move depending on your position and whether you raise your arms when checking. Therefore standing up and lying down can make it easier to check all areas of the boobs more thoroughly.
Why does CoppaFeel! not use props and models to demonstrate a breast check?
We believe that it is important to get to know what feels normal for you. Nobody knows your body better than you and ultimately you will be doing the checking each month so we want to encourage you to be hands on, so to speak. Props and models can sometimes cause unnecessary anxiety if people are unable to find symptoms using the model. They can also lead to people believing there are certain characteristics of a breast cancer lump, which cannot be fully defined.