Breast cancer/ Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: how can you get involved?

Did you know one in eight women are affected by breast cancer in their lifetime? Or that every year almost 400 men are diagnosed in the UK alone? And that only 10% of cases are actually hereditary?

The month of October is annually dedicated to raising awareness about how to check yourself for possible signs of breast cancer and how you yourself can help raise awareness for breast cancer. Here’s all you need to know as a student to stay aware and raise awareness on campus.

 

Checking your boobs and the possible signs and symptoms

Checking your breasts is something a lot of us twenty-somethings don’t know how to do, and many of us don’t check our breasts at all, never mind regularly. It is important, even from a young age, to be aware of the signs and symptoms and the possibility of breast cancer. Getting into a good routine as early as possible might just help you spot and prevent any cancer that may develop.

  • It is recommended that you check your breasts or pecs once a month. A number of organisations, such as CoppaFeel, even provide free text reminders and apps to help remind you to check. You should also check your collarbone and armpits – breast tissue is not just found in boobs
  • Be aware of what’s normal and not normal for your breasts. If you have periods, they are likely to change during your cycle, so try to understand what is right for you at a particular time of the month, so you can spot abnormalities.
  • Visit your doctor if a symptom persists for more than one week – they are the ones who can get you a further examination. It can be intimidating and may feel futile if you’re young, but any concern is valid. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
  • Know the signs and symptoms: look for changes in skin texture, swelling, nipple discharge, sunken nipples/nipple inversion, sudden change in size or shape, rashes or crusting around the surrounding area, lumps and thickening in or of the breast tissue and constant abnormal pain in your breasts or armpits

 

What you can do on campus to raise awareness

  • Join a Uni Boob Team – a team of student ambassadors raising money and raising awareness about checking yourself regularly. Or apply on the CoppaFeel website to start your own team of ambassadors at your university!
  • Why not have a go at fundraising? Hold your own event on campus (a bake sale is a firm favourite), or run a sponsored marathon in the name of a loved one lost to breast cancer. You could also get involved in RAG (Raising and Giving society) to help fundraise for breast cancer awareness through charity collection and challenge events, like international cycles to Paris, for example, or even further if you’re up to the task…
  • Spread the message. Order shower hangers and stickers from the CoppaFeel organisation and ask the SU to display them in student halls and the gym. Alternatively, reach out to the Health Centre on campus to order some and spread the message for both men and women to check their breasts and pecs.

For more information, check out the Breast Cancer Now website to get clued up on breast cancer by taking the breast quiz, reading all about what can cause breast cancer and making yourself aware of breast cancer facts. A staggering 55,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. So, girls, guys, non-binary pals: stay aware and start checking your boobs this October.

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