Fearne Cotton explains why young people should check their boobs
Cancer When Fearne Cotton heard about the work of a breast cancer campaign aimed at young people, the television and radio presenter vowed to spread the word.
When Fearne Cotton found herself being plastered with stickers from a breast cancer charity she had to find out more.
“I had a friend who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She used to regularly stick CoppaFeel! stickers all over me!” says television and radio presenter Fearne.
“She explained that the charity had offered her a lot of support, and told me the story of its founder Kris, who was diagnosed with breast cancer aged 23. I was inspired to get involved.”
Kris found a lump in her breast and consulted her GP, but it took eight months to get a diagnosis of breast cancer, largely because it was assumed that young people rarely got the disease. By the time it was diagnosed it had spread to her spine, and was at stage four. There is no stage five.
Within a month of her diagnosis Kris and her twin sister Maren had founded a charity to make young women – and men - aware that breast cancer can affect them as well as older people.
Fearne says: “Kris is an inspirational young woman, who whilst fighting an incredibly brave battle of her own has made it her mission to educate people on the importance of checking their breasts regularly."
Inspired by the work CoppaFeel! do Fearne became a patron of the charity and one of her first missions was to complete the Bath Half marathon in aid of the charity. Since then she has designed limited edition t-shirts and is the curator of Festifeel, the charity's music festival.
She also publicises the importance of checking your boobs for the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.
Says Fearne: “I was not aware of the importance of checking yourself from a young age. Now I have been self-checking for two years. I've met so many women who have been through breast cancer, or who are living with it, that I understand the importance of checking your boobs regularly. You can do it in the shower or anywhere private or get someone else to do it. It only takes five minutes.”
One in eight women experiences breast cancer in her life and 400 men are diagnosed annually. Young people are not immune. The earlier it is diagnosed the better the chances of a healthy outcome.
Fearne says: “I get the message about why it is important to young people and I'm happy to spread the word.”
Fearne has made a video for the charity's website explaining how to check your boobs – though there is no 'right' or 'wrong' way to do it. The most important thing is to know the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, check regularly and seek medical advice if you notice something that is not normal for you. The good news is that breast cancer can be treated very successfully if detected in the early stages. By visiting your GP quickly with any concerns, you are giving yourself the best chance of a positive outcome.
Things to check for include skin texture changes, such as puckering or dimpling, lumps or thickening, nipple inversion or changes in direction, nipple discharge, and rash or crusting of the nipple or surrounding areas. Also take action if you experience constant pain in the breast or armpit, swelling in the armpit and/or around the collarbone, or notice any sudden changes in the size and shape of your breasts.
If you notice anything unusual for you, seek medical advice straight away. For more information on how to check your boobs head to coppafeel.org/boob-check.