October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month; an internationally recognised health campaign dedicated to raising awareness and funds for breast cancer.

With tragic celebrity news such as the death of Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding at aged 39, and the recent diagnosis of 51-year-old TV presenter Julia Bradbury fresh in our minds, a light shines harder on Breast Cancer Awareness Month this year.

Following her breast cancer diagnosis last month, Countryfile presenter Julia Bradbury has stressed the importance of attending breast screenings and self-checking your breasts at home. The TV-star has recently had a mastectomy and is bravely using her platform to create awareness through allowing people to follow her journey on social media. On Twitter, she said, “so many women have told me they’ve checked themselves/ seen their GP since hearing my diagnosis. Awareness is essential.” Julia has posted a number of helpful resources such as videos on how to check your breasts and claimed the love and support she has received online is overwhelming.

In both the public eye and our personal lives, it’s likely we’ve all known or heard of someone with breast cancer. The disease is the most common cancer in the UK with one woman being diagnosed every 10 minutes. Often, contributing factors such as age and gender are out of our control, however, there are ways we can lower our risk. Getting in the habit of self-checking your breasts daily is important in noticing any changes that could be cancerous. You don’t need to be a professional, just make sure you have a good feel and get to know what is normal for your body, making any abnormal changes more obvious. This applies to males too; although rare, it is not impossible for men to develop breast cancer, with 370 men being diagnosed a year.

On a positive note, breast cancer survival rates are improving through factors such as early detection through screening, faster diagnosis and improvement of treatments and care. All this improvement has been made possible through raising awareness and funds. There are endless, easy and fun ways you can help keep these improvements going and support the cause this month and every month.

· Being familiar with your body and how to properly examine yourself at home is vital for early detection. Visit breastcancer.org for step-by-step guidance on self-examination.

· Get shopping! Donating money has never been more fun with amazing brands taking part in donating profits this year. Have a guilt-free shopping spree knowing your money is going to a great cause.

- GHD has partnered with Breast Cancer Now on their new rose pink collection of hair straighteners and dryers, donating £10 from every purchase: ghd.com/pink-collection

- Skincare brand Elemis is donating profits from their limited edition Skin Bliss Capsules this year. Elemis have also claimed to donate £33,000 to Breast Cancer Now, regardless of sales. Shop Elemis products here: uk.elemis.com/limited-edition-supersize-skin-bliss-capsules

- Make-up giant Bobbi Brown promises to donate full profits from their Limited Edition Crushed Oil Infused Gloss Duo to Breast Cancer Research Foundation this year. Shop the lip gloss here: bobbibrown.co.uk

· Fundraising is another fun way to raise money and awareness. There are hundreds of local and national fundraising events taking place this year, including Julia Bradbury’s ‘Put Your Boots On For Boobs’, urging people to join a series of walks to raise money. Details about the walks can be found at: theoutdoorguide.co.uk/boots-for-boobs-fundraiser

You can even create your own fundraiser with help from Cancer Research UK and their fundraising packs: www.cancerresearchuk.org/get-involved/do-your-own-fundraising/get-fundraising-pack


Published By
Ruth Mullan