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One in four women under 40 have never checked themselves for breast cancer

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One quarter of women under 40 have never checked themselves for breast cancer – believing they are too young, or they don’t think it will affect them, or they are just too busy.

And half of all women do not regularly check their breasts for signs of cancer.

The study of 2,000 women found those aged 18 to 39 are the least likely to look for signs of cancer, with a tenth believing they are not old enough to suffer the illness. But a quarter admit they do not have the confidence to inspect themselves, while 1 in 10 put it off in case they find a lump.

It also emerged women from South Asian backgrounds are the least likely to examine themselves compared to other ethnicities, with 40% admitting to never checking at all. This drops to 27% of black women and just 13% cent of those of other ethnicities.

Of the South Asian women polled who don’t check themselves for signs of breast cancer, more than a third said they forget or don’t know what they are looking for. While more than 1 in 20 (7%) don’t feel comfortable checking themselves due to cultural reasons.

Barriers to going to the doctor when noticing a lump or change in breasts vary – from not wanting to waste their doctor’s time, the fear of not being taken seriously, concerns that a female doctor won’t be available, and not wanting to know what caused the change.

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Source: The Independent, 11 October 2021

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