Despite high profile breast cancer awareness campaigns, 46 per cent of adult females in the capital still do not perform regular breast checks, according to research released yesterday. Worryingly, the research also showed that 53 per cent of adult women are unaware of the full list of symptoms for the disease which kills 12,000 women in the UK each year. Medical consultants at BMI The Blackheath Hospital in Lewisham are concerned for the wellbeing of women in London, and are urging them to take control of their breast health during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The research, commissioned by BMI The Blackheath Hospital, also revealed that the prevalence of women who don’t perform regular breast checks varies across London’s 32 boroughs. In Lewisham just 62 per cent of women perform regular breast checks. Women in the London Borough of Redbridge are the least observant, ranking last with just one third (33 per cent) admitting to regular checks while Hounslow women proved the most vigilant with 80 per cent of women claiming to check their breasts regularly.
Although awareness of breast cancer is high, over half of the women surveyed were not aware of the common signs of the disease. In Lewisham just 48 per cent of women were aware of the common indicators of breast cancer. Across the capital, awareness of key visible indicators of the disease varied dramatically. The lowest awareness rates were in the London borough of Camden, where only 23 per cent of women said they knew what the common symptoms were, whilst Barnet women ranked first with 69 per cent of women saying they were aware of all the symptoms.
Commenting on the results, Consultant Breast Surgeon Mr Happy Hoque at BMI The Blackheath Hospital said: “Regular checks can help identify abnormalities in breast tissue that could indicate early signs of breast cancer. Early identification through breast awareness allows patients to seek much faster diagnosis and treatment. Previously, it was advised that women perform self breast examinations in a prescribed or set manner. Guidelines have changed and now recognise that it is more important for a woman to know what looks and feel normal and be breast aware. They should know the symptoms of the disease, know what is normal for their body, and be able to quickly identify any changes.”