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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 October 2005, 11:22 GMT 12:22 UK
Women told to show breasts 'TLC'
Image of mammography
Women are also advised to attend for screening when invited
Women are being urged to show their breasts more "tender loving care" to beat breast cancer.

The first ever British Boob Survey, commissioned by charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer, reveals women are not showing their breasts enough attention.

Of more than 1,000 women surveyed, 80% had not checked their breasts in the last month for the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.

Early detection offers the best chance of successful treatment, experts say.

Touch, Look, Check

Nearly 41,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK each year.

Breakthrough Breast Cancer says women should be more breast aware and touch, look at and check their breasts from time to time for anything unusual.

The survey found that nearly half (47%) of all women did not check their breasts because they did not know how to do it.

It simply means getting to know your breasts by touching, looking and checking them often
Dr Sarah Rawlings of Breakthrough Breast Cancer

Whilst nearly all of the women knew that a lump in the breast could be a symptom of breast cancer, 93% did not know all the other possible symptoms, such as a change in breast size or shape, a rash of the nipple or surrounding area, pain that is unrelated to periods or puckering of the skin.

The charity advises: "Touch your breasts. Feel for anything unusual. Look for changes. Be aware of their shape and texture. Check anything unusual with your doctor. Chat with your friends if you are worried."

Dr Sarah Rawlings of Breakthrough Breast Cancer said: "We want to dispel the myth that being breast aware means you need to follow a complicated routine, it doesn't.

"It simply means getting to know your breasts by touching, looking and checking them often.

"Remember that nine out of 10 lumps are not cancerous but by showing your breasts some TLC, you'll be able to spot any abnormal changes and make an appointment with your GP as soon as possible.

"What's more, showing your breasts some TLC doesn't have to be boring; if you involve your partner you might actually have a bit of fun and appreciate them a little more as a result."

A spokeswoman from Breast Cancer Care said there was still a lot of confusion surrounding breast self-examination versus breast awareness and this is leading to women receiving mixed messages.

She said breast awareness was not about a daily routine and being constantly vigilant, but about knowing what is normal for the individual so any unusual changes were noticed.

"Unlike breast examination which has caused anxiety in women worried about not doing it right and forgetting to do it, breast awareness simply means that every woman must get to know how her breasts look and feel normally so that they can report any changes that are unseal for them to a GP promptly."

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