We know that breast cancer is increasing, especially in younger women under the age of 50. There were over 55,000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in 2014, and one in five of the diagnosed cases is now in women under the age of 50. Breast cancer in younger women is at a record high.

While there has been an 11% increase since 1995 in younger women being diagnosed with breast cancer, the good news is that improvements in detection and treatment have seen a 40% drop in the number of younger women dying of breast cancer since the 1990s.

There are many risk factors involved in breast cancer forming, and no one is absolutely sure what causes it unless it is a specific type of cancer which runs in families and is the result of faulty gene sequencing. If you are worried about breast cancer risk because it has occurred in your family you can speak to your GP about having genetic testing.

 Women between the ages of 50 and 69 receive regular diagnostic screening for breast cancer, but unfortunately mammograms are not very reliable in younger women because breast tissue is denser, so breast cancer is usually spotted by the patient first – and this is why it’s so important to know how your breasts feel, and know what feels normal.

 No one yet fully understands why some women and some men get breast cancer and some don’t. It affects those who exercise daily, eat healthily and don’t drink, as well as those who go to festivals, never walk anywhere and eat what they like. Research into all types of cancer is entering a new stage with our understanding of the genetics involved in cell mutations helping scientists to begin designing better treatments.

  Here at Feel Yourself we think life is short, beautiful, and you should enjoy yourself as much as possible. We don’t want anyone to live in fear of cancer, but we do want everyone to be aware. Be aware of the statistics and the risk factors and what they might mean to you, but more importantly, be aware of yourself. Know how you should feel, both inside and out. If you notice any changes in your general well-being, your body, or find any lumps, report them to your GP immediately. Awareness is crucial in early diagnosis, and early diagnosis is often crucial in successful treatment, so make sure you feel yourself and make sure you know how you should feel. 

The reason we recommend checking yourself weekly is that we want you to make self-awareness an important part of your health or beauty routine, as normal to you as plucking your eyebrows, having a long bath with candles, trimming your nasal hair, painting your toenails, or any of the other things you might get up to alone – or with your partner – in the bathroom.

Don’t be afraid of cancer. Be aware of it.