One in two women at risk of breast cancer because they don't check their boobs regularly

ONE in two women in the UK could be missing deadly signs of breast cancer because they don't check their boobs on a regular basis, a charity has warned.

Research commissioned by Breast Cancer Now found that 47 per cent of women do not check their breast for potential signs such as thickening, swelling or lumps.

It also found that one in ten women claimed they have never checked their breasts for abnormalities, despite breast cancer being the most common cancer in women in the UK.

The YouGov survey also found that just a fifth of women check their breasts once every six months or less and shockingly just 13 per cent check their breasts once a year.

Breast Cancer Now recommends that women check their breasts at least every six weeks.

If you find anything that is unusual to you then you should see your GP.

The women were quizzed on their habits when it comes to checking for signs of cancer and a whopping 46 per cent of women said they forget to check their breasts.

'Shocking figures'

A fifth of women also said that they don't feel confident that they know what they are looking for and this was the case for 17 per cent of the women quizzed who were age 45-54.

Experts say that this is a particularly alarming figure due to the fact that this is when women are most at risk of developing breast cancer.

Eight in 10 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women over the age of 50.


Regular checking means you will get to know your breasts. That means six months, a year, even ten years down the line, if something changes, you will be able to detect it and quickly.

Here are the eight key signs that you need to look out for when it comes to changes in your breasts.

  • A new lump or thickening in your breast or armpit;
  • Change in the size, shape or feel of your breast;
  • Skin changes in the breast, including puckering, dimpling, a rash or redness of the skin;
  • Fluid leaking from the nipple in a woman who isn’t pregnant or breastfeeding;
  • Nipple changes, including a change of position, or the nipple pulled in;
  •  Pain in your breast;
  • A swelling in your armpit or around your collarbone;
  •  Any other unusual or persistent changes to your breast.

If you notice any of these or are worried, the best thing to do is see your GP.

It was previously reported that nearly one million women had missed out on breast cancer screening due to the coronavirus pandemic and the survey found that women also cited the pandemic as a reason for not reporting symptoms.

Even though many women said they “didn’t want to bother” their GPs, 87 per cent said they would visit a doctor if they noticed an unusual breast change.

Manveet Basra, Head of Public Health and Wellbeing at Breast Cancer Now said she was “shocked” to discover that one in ten women have never checked their breasts.

She said that there was no special technique to checking your breasts and added that women need to understand what is normal for them – this she said, is so you can spot any unusual changes.

Life saving checks

“Making this part of your routine – such as in the shower or when you apply moisturiser – can help you to do it regularly.

“Encourage your female friends and family to do this too; please don’t feel embarrassed talking about this simple step that could save your life!”, she added.

While most women know that a lump can be a sign of breast cancer, Manveet said there are other signs to watch out for.

“This could be nipple discharge, dimpling or puckering of the skin of the breast, the breast looking red or inflamed, or swelling in the upper chest or armpit.

“Most breast changes won’t be cancer; however, get any new or unusual breast changes checked by the GP right away.

"I can assure you Covid-19 doesn’t change this – surgeries have safety measures in place to minimise the risk of the spread of Covid-19 and your GP wants you to get any breast changes checked out without delay.”

Earlier this year, former Girls Aloud member Sarah Harding shared her breast cancer diagnosis.

Sarah is just 38-years-old and while diagnoses in this age range is rare itremains the biggest cause of death in women aged 35 to 49.

Dr Zoe Williams said that the earlier you start checking the better.

She added that the key is making it part of your routine, so it feel like a normal thing to do.

The condition doesn't just affect women and around 370 men are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK every year.

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