Check Your Chest: Uni Boob Exeter on Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Here’s how Exeter Uniboob is leading programs of education and empowerment

For most of us, the idea of getting breast cancer in our lifetime is a distant and vague possibility or perhaps we recognise the risks, but believe it is only a concern for women in their 50s or 60s. But as Breast Cancer Awareness month arrives this October, organisations like Exeter’s Uni Boob want to remind us that the odds are greater, and more immediate, than you might expect.

Whilst one in seven women will experience breast cancer within their lifetime, this is not limited to women in the primary risk category, those above the age of 50. In fact, in women aged between 25 and 49, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer, comprising 44 per cent of all cases in 2014-2016.

It is also a common misconception that breast cancer is only a risk for women, when actually an estimated 400 men are diagnosed every single year. Being educated, and informed on the facts and your own body is crucial for early detection and intervention, something Uni Boob is committed to promoting.

What is Uniboob?

Uni Boob Exeter is a free society, open to all regardless of a connection to breast cancer, and dedicated to raising awareness of breast cancer through their advocacy and activities. All year round, they provide useful resources and reminders for young people, those aged between 18 and 29, to regularly check their chests, whether they’re pecs, boobs or neither. They also engage in the Exeter community in fun and inclusive ways, whether this be through awareness stands in the Forum, collaborations with other societies in their “wear it pink” socials, or Boob Ball tournaments.

Through educating and informing members and followers of the many signs of breast cancer, they are simultaneously empowering people to have that confidence to seek professional help if needed. Uni Boob is not exaggerating or dramatising breast cancer risks and statistics, instead they are focused on getting young people into the habit of checking their chests, finding their normal, so one day if they do find a worrying abnormality, they are in the position that they can take action and do something about it. If in doubt, get it checked out.

Adopting the habit of checking your chest can be made even more accessible through Uni Boob’s text reminder service. By texting UBT EXETER to 82228, you will be texted once a month with a fun pun, based on all things from Barbie to Christmas, to remind you to #feelitonthefirst.

How to check your chest

In terms of actually checking your chest, it is important to remember to check your armpits and collarbones, as well as looking and feeling for visible changes in skin texture, size and shape around your boob or pec. Signs of lumps, thickening, and changes to your nipple are other sure signs you should seek medical attention.

But mostly, checking your chest is about getting to know what is normal for you, as nobody knows your body better than you. Building it into your routine by checking once a month whilst in the shower, getting dressed, or before falling asleep, can make a world of difference by familiarising yourself with your normal. Regardless of your gender, regular checking of your chest means that if something does change, it is detected early, which ultimately is the best form of protection.

Checking your chest will not prevent your chance of getting breast cancer, but it will help in preventing its development. This Breast Cancer Awareness month it is important to remain inclusive, and remind us all that regardless of our sex and age, we all have a risk of developing breast cancer. But through raising awareness, and maintaining habits that go beyond this October, we can raise recovery rates from breast cancer even higher and look towards a world where early intervention and treatment is the new normal.

Always seek professional medical advice from your GP.

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