Breast cancer remains the most common cancer in the UK, but almost half (46%) of women do not check their breasts regularly or have never checked them at all.
That’s according to new research carried out by Breast Cancer Now, which found that the main reason women don’t check more often is simply because they forget.
More than 50,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year and spotting the symptoms early can give women the best chance of survival.
So in light of the results, the charity is launching a new app to remind us all to self-check regularly.
The research also found that awareness of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer has grown steadily over the last few years thanks to campaigns like Breast Cancer Now’s TLC (Touch Look Check).
Despite this, in a sample of almost 2,000 women, 43% admitted forgetting to check their breasts while 37% said they are not in the habit of checking.
Those between 18 and 24 check themselves the least (39% check regularly compared to 46% nationally) and London has the smallest proportion of women checking regularly (38%), while the North West has the highest number in Britain (55%).
Baroness Delyth Morgan, CEO at Breast Cancer Now, said the results are a real cause for concern.
“While we’re proud of the progress that we’ve made over the last decade since we started running our TLC campaign, these results are worrying,” she said.
“We all lead busy lives and, while it’s understandable that checking your breasts can easily get forgotten, spotting cancer early can make the difference between life and death, which is why we’ll keep reminding women how important it is.”
Breast Cancer Now is making it as easy as possible for women to remember to check themselves with the launch of the new Breast Check Now app.
The free app aims to help women get into the habit of checking their breasts regularly by setting up a plan that’s easy to remember and fits with their daily lives.
As well as including all the information women need on the potential signs and symptoms to look out for, the app gives you regular reminders and enables you to keep a record of your checks to help you learn what’s normal for you and to see if anything changes.
Baroness Morgan added: “Our free Breast Check Now app makes it easy to remember to check – you just set a plan for yourself that fits with your life. We believe if every woman regularly checked her breasts, 1,500 lives a year could be saved.
“Checking your breasts is simple, quick and easy, and you decide how often feels right. The main thing is that you do keep doing it.”
For further information about the free Breast Check Now app visit breastcancernow.org/breastchecknow and to download the app search ‘Breast Check Now’ in Google Play or the App Store.