October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s a time when cancer related charities try to raise awareness to a common cancer that kills far too many women and men each year (yes men can get breast cancer too).
I recently discovered a campaign called Coppafeel. I found their link on my Facebook newsfeed and decided to go to their website to read all about their charity. We’ve all heard of Cancer Research UK and The Pink Ribbon Foundation, but Coppafeel is a relatively unknown charity that I really admire. Their aim is simple, they want to educate young people and raise awareness for breast cancer. They want to make sure that women have the knowledge they need to detect any unusual changes in their breasts, something that could quite literally save their lives.
One in eight women are affected by breast cancer in their lifetime and over a third of women overall can’t name all of the symptoms of breast cancer (me included). As a woman, it is something that I should know. I should check my breasts on a regular basis and I shouldn’t be afraid to go to the doctors if I find anything unusual, unfortunately, I’m not the only woman that feels this way. A lot of women don’t know what normal is. That’s when I found the webpage describing their latest campaign called #whatnormalfeelslike. They want to change the media’s attitude towards breasts (it’s about time). Founder of the Coppafeel charity Kris Hallenga says that “Society and the media think of breasts in a sexual way, but by creating this campaign we want to give boobs back to women and encourage them to think and talk about them in terms beyond size.”
During the month of October, Coppafeel will be displaying seven different photos of breasts on billboards across the UK to raise awareness and to show the public that the airbrushed pictures they see in magazines are not what real breasts look like. Not surprising at all but this will be the first time that uncensored, unsexualised pictures of breasts have been advertised on British billboards. They also want to enhance the vocabulary that women use to describe their breasts. Instead of referring to their size, they want to inspire women to use other words to describe them such as peachy, bobbly, doughy, spongy and firm. If women know how their breasts usually feel, they will certainly know when something isn’t right.
Getting any form of cancer is a worry for everyone but there are a few things that you can do to help prevent it according to breast cancer organisations. It is estimated 30% of breast cancer cases could have been prevented if the person had taken their lifestyle choices more seriously. It has been proven that drinking large amounts of alcohol can increase the risk of breast cancer. Smoking has never been good for your health and if you smoke heavily you will be put in the at risk category. Also, being overweight can also be a contributing factor. They also suggest that exercising on a regular basis can decrease a women’s risk of getting breast cancer. What I worry about the most is taking the contraceptive pill. There are a lot of people who say taking it for long periods of time can increase your chances of not just breast cancer but cervical cancer – but this is yet to be confirmed as true.
We’re told to know our own bodies and recognise when something changes but it’s sometimes hard to tell. If we educate ourselves on what normal breast tissue feels like and how to know when a lump is something to worry about, more women will find their cancer early and be able to treat it. I’ve realised now that my knowledge on my own breasts is limited and I need to check them on a regular basis. We spend a lot of time on our hair, makeup and choice of clothes yet we always neglect the need to look after our bodies. It only takes a few minutes to have a look and a feel when you’re in the shower, I’m sure I can start to make it one of my priorities.
I hope one day that they find a cure for breast cancer, in the meantime all we can do is raise awareness and that is exactly what Coppafeel is trying to do. The founder of the charity Kris Hallenga was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 23 years old. She was only two years older than me. Now that really hit home. I believed the stigma that only older women tend to get breast cancer or those who have breast cancer history in their families but it isn’t true. Anyone can get breast cancer. Anyone can get any type of cancer. You never think it will happen to you.
Remember: Knowing your boobs could save your life, so check your breasts on a daily basis, it only takes five minutes. Head over to the website to learn more about checking your breasts and the Coppafeel charity – http://coppafeel.org/