Women aged 18-25 urged to check for symptoms of breast cancer

Women aged 18 to 25 are being asked to get to know their body in a drive to raise awareness of the symptoms of breast cancer.

CoppaFeel! said young people often do not think they are at risk of breast cancer, even though an early diagnosis can save lives.

Breast cancer is much more common in older women but around 5,000 women under the age of 45 are diagnosed with it every year in the UK.

Breast cancer is also the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in women under 30 in the UK (with 181 new cases every year and around 12 deaths).

The CoppaFeel! Know Yourself campaign comes after Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding, 39, died from breast cancer earlier this month.

Lucy Lepe – who features in the campaign’s TV advert – was diagnosed with breast cancer aged 27.

She said: “As a young person, I didn’t know much about breast cancer, only what I’d seen on TV, which rarely featured anyone young or black.

“I definitely didn’t know that I could be affected at my age."

“I got involved in the campaign in the hopes to change that narrative, raise awareness and help more young people understand that breast cancer can affect anyone, irrespective of age, gender or ethnicity.”

Singer Sarah Harding died from breast cancer in September aged 39. Credit: PA

Signs of breast cancer include a lump or thickened area, swelling or lump in the armpit, change to nipple appearance and new puckering or dimpling.

Alongside a TV advert, CoppaFeel! will be launching a radio campaign and other adverts.

Sinead Molloy, head of marketing at CoppaFeel!, said: “Many people think of breast cancer as something that affects older women, but CoppaFeel! exists to shift that perception, by showing that breast cancer could affect any young person.

“We hope that viewers take away the message that breast cancer is a relevant issue to young lives too, and above all else, understand that nobody knows their body better than they do.”

CoppaFeel! offer points on how to check your breasts

How to look out for the signs of breast cancer:

The first noticeable symptom is usually a lump or area of thickened breast tissue.Most breast lumps are not cancerous, but it is always best to have them checked by a doctor.Breast pain is not usually a symptom of breast cancer, but there are a number of other symptoms.The NHS website advises people to see a GP if they notice any of these symptoms:

  • A change in the size or shape of one or both breasts

  • Discharge from either nipple, which may be streaked with blood

  • A lump or swelling in either armpit

  • Dimpling on the skin of the breasts

  • A rash on or around the nipple

  • A change in the appearance of the nipple, such as becoming sunken into the breast