Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Aviva Health and Breast Cancer Ireland launch breast cancer awareness campaign that urges young women to 'Have a Feel Day'

27 September 2011
Aviva Health Insurance Ireland Limited and Breast Cancer Ireland today launched the ‘Be Breast Aware: Have a Feel Day' campaign to urge young women in their 20s and 30s to be breast aware and check their breasts regularly to know what's normal for them. Breast cancer, which accounts for approximately one-third of all female cancers, has a somewhat younger profile than other cancer types.] Therefore, early detection is the key to survival. Yet new research shows that younger women are the least aware of monthly breast check recommendations and what changes they should look out for, while over a third (39%) of Irish women aged 18-24 years claim they have never performed a breast check.

The majority (85%) of women believe they should check their breasts for changes at least once a month but worryingly only one in two (47%) actually conduct a breast check every month. Moreover, over a third (39%) of women aged 25-34 years admitted they never perform a check or only do so once a year.This is a real concern given that research shows most breast cancers (81.9%) are found randomly by women themselves.

Pictured here are PhD students from RCSI Irene Babina (left) and Katie O'Brien (right)

The ‘Be Breast Aware: Have a Feel Day' campaign will dedicate one day, Thursday, 20th October, to  remind young women to conduct a breast self-exam. To encourage ‘feels' on the day,  Aviva's free health and fitness app, Health Mate, will go pink and offer a handy but discreet monthly breast check reminder on their phone, so that women are encouraged to check themselves long after Breast Cancer Awareness Month is over. Health Mate is available now on iTunes or the Android Market.

Interestingly, statistics in Europe reveal a 99% survival rate for women with breast cancer in Northern European countries like Sweden & Norway, as opposed to 75% in Ireland.

"Studies show that young women often fail to recognise that they have a risk of breast cancer, albeit small, and should be aware of what is normal for them on examination of their own breasts," said Professor Arnie Hill, Professor and Chair of Surgery at RCSI. "We want to encourage young women to be pro-active about their health on the 20th October by examining their breasts thoroughly and getting other women to do the same."

Pictured here are PhD students from RCSI Irene Babina (left) and Katie O'Brien (right) with young breast cancer survivor, 36 year old Nicola Turley (center).

A special ‘Have a Feel Day' Facebook page as well as the Breast Cancer Ireland website will provide a step-by-step video on how to complete a breast check and over 55,000 breast check shower cards will be made available at GP surgeries nationwide. Social media sites, mobile media and experiential activity will all be utilised to spread the word and encourage optimal participation on the day.

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