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Wednesday, 27 September, 2000, 11:13 GMT 12:13 UK
Women 'fail to check' for breast cancer
Breast cancer scan
One in 12 women will get breast cancer
More than one in four women have never examined themselves for breast cancer, a survey has found.

Figures published on Wednesday also reveal that 70% of women who check their breasts for signs of the disease do not do it regularly enough.

Almost half of these women carry out self-examination tests once every six months.

This runs the risk of women failing to identify breast cancer in its earliest stages when medical treatment has the highest success rates.

Experts says that while it can be counter-productive to rush to doctors with existing lumps and bumps, it is a good idea to be "breast aware", so that any changes will be noticed swiftly.


These survey figures are alarming

Felicity Hawkins, Pink Ribbon editor

More than 35,000 women in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer every year - two thirds are alive five years on, although 1,000 die every month from the disease.

It is one of the biggest killers of women in the UK.

The survey also found that one in two women admit they are unsure as to how they should examine their breasts.

Examining breasts for lumps is one of the most effective ways of identifying the early stages of cancer.

The survey was carried out by annual magazine Pink Ribbon to coincide with the release of 2,233 pink ribbons from Trafalgar Square and Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

An estimated 2,233 women are expected to die from breast cancer in the eight weeks the magazine is on sale.

Education

Pink Ribbon editor Felicity Hawkins said the survey highlighted the need for women to be given more information about the disease.

"These survey figures are alarming. The fact that so many women fail to regularly examine their breasts when every year 13,000 die and an additional 30,000 are diagnosed proves there is a massive need for education," she said.

Meanwhile, the Cancer Research Campaign (CRC) has set up touch screen computers in nine of its second-hand clothes stores in the UK.

The pilot scheme aims to enable customers to gain access to information on the disease at a touch of a screen.

If successful, it may be rolled out to the CRC's 280 shops across the country.

Professor Gordon McVie, director general of the Cancer Research Campaign, said: "Setting up a high-tech cancer information service among second hand clothes and bric-a-brac may seem an odd idea at first.

"But our shops are our window on the high street and nearly everyone who comes into them has had their life touched by cancer in some way.

"We have a duty to offer advice and information about the disease to those people and inter-active touch screens may be one way of doing it."

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