A quarter of women under 40 have never had breast cancer screening – they think they are too young, don’t believe it affects them – or they are just too busy.
And half of all women don’t regularly check their breasts for signs of cancer.
The study of 2,000 women found that 18- to 39-year-olds were the least likely to look for signs of cancer, with a tenth saying they weren’t old enough to suffer from the disease.
But a quarter admits that they do not trust themselves to inspect, while one in ten put it off if they find a lump.
It also found that women with South Asian backgrounds are the least likely to examine themselves when compared to other races, with 40 percent admitting they never look at all.
This drops to 27 percent of black women and only 13 percent of those of other races.
Of South Asian women surveyed who do not self-check for signs of breast cancer, more than a third said they forget or don’t know what to look for.
While more than one in twentieth (seven percent) do not feel comfortable checking themselves for cultural reasons.
It also found that, compared to other races, black women are the least likely to be confident that they know how to check or what to look for (43 percent) and 15 percent fearful of being judged by others.
The survey was commissioned by the UK and Irish breast cancer campaign The Estée Lauder Companies (ELC), which is hosting its second “Time to Unite” event on Wednesday October 20th at 7pm with the aim of being the world’s largest virtual To be self-test.
Elizabeth Hurley is accompanied by Alesha Dixon and Victoria Derbyshire, and breast cancer survivors such as Leanne Pero and Lauren Mahon, while Dr. Zoe Williams conducts a gradual self-check.
Leanne Pero, breast cancer survivor and founder of Black Women Rising, said, “What worries me is that this new study shows that one fifth of women in black and South Asian communities mistakenly believe that breast cancer only affects middle-aged white women.
“While black women are less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer, they are more likely to develop aggressive advanced breast cancer diagnosed at a young age and are therefore more likely to die of the disease.
“I am living proof that you can survive breast cancer if you act early.”
The study also found that a total of 14 percent of women never checked for lumps or changes in their breasts that could indicate cancer.
And even of the 83 percent who do, a fifth (19 percent) aren’t sure what they’re looking for.
Breast cancer in women is the most commonly diagnosed cancer worldwide today – and will surpass lung cancer for the first time in 2020 – with an estimated 2.3 million new cases.
But a third of all women believe that you cannot develop breast cancer until you are 50, and just under a third think they are too “flat-chested” to be affected.
Lauren Mahon, breast cancer survivor, founder of Girl vs. Cancer and co-host of You, Me and the Big C, said, “It is incredibly important for younger women to realize that they are not immune to breast cancer; It’s not just a disease that affects women at a later stage in life.
“It is important for me that women understand that even those with small breasts like me are at risk of breast cancer.
“It’s frightening to see that research found that a quarter of young women don’t have their breasts examined and a third think their breasts are not big enough to get cancer.
“Knowing from my own experience the importance of early diagnosis, I encourage women of all ages to have their breasts checked regularly to see what’s normal for them – it’s not about looking for cancer; it is knowing what is normal for your body. “
The barriers to going to the doctor when a lump or breast change is noticed vary – from the fear of not wasting the doctor’s time, the fear of not being taken seriously, the worry that a doctor will not available and not wanting to know what caused the change.
The research also found that many LGBT +, Black, and South Asian women believe that there is a stigma in their community for talking about breast cancer because it just isn’t talked about; and let’s say there is a lack of representation in the resources for self-regulation.
Eight in ten (82 percent) believe that greater access to tools and resources is needed for a wider range of people to highlight that breast cancer can affect any body.
Sue Fox, President of The ELC UK & Ireland added, “Breast cancer is a multifaceted disease, not a disease with a single history.
“It’s a disease that affects everyone, and this year’s campaign remains steadfast to unite people to create a world without breast cancer. It’s #TimeToEndBreastCancer. “