This is how we do it.
Let's start with some questions. Who do you think can get breast cancer and at what age? I wonder how many of you said just women over 50...
In reality, breast cancer doesn't discriminate. No matter how you identify, your ethnicity, or how old you are, breast cancer can affect everybody. There is a misconception that younger people can't be affected, when in truth, around 2,300 women under the age of 39  and 400 men are diagnosed in the UK each year .
How is this misconception being tackled? Well, that's where CoppaFeel! come in.
CoppaFeel! is the very first (and only) charity in the UK whose purpose is to speak to young people about breast cancer. We exist to give all people the best chance of surviving breast cancer through ensuring early and correct diagnosis. Our mission as a charity is to encourage, educate and empower, through raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, and equipping people with the tools and knowledge to seek advice should they notice a change in their body's normal look and feel.
CoppaFeel! was founded back in 2009 by Kris Hallenga and her twin sister Maren, after Kris was diagnosed with incurable breast cancer at the age of 23. They were struck by the limited information that was available for young people informing them about the risks and symptoms of breast cancer. Armed with a desire to ensure no one else was left in the dark about the disease, Kris and Maren started CoppaFeel! and, 13 years later, we are still reminding everyone to get to know their normal and check their chests.
Signs and Symptoms
Now that you have an understanding of who CoppaFeel! are, let's get down to the really important stuff; knowing the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.
Firstly, it's crucial to point out that boobs, pecs and chests come in all different shapes and sizes and therefore it's vital for each person to get to know what is normal for them. With this understanding, should anything feel or look out of the ordinary for your body, you will feel empowered to know when it's time to call the GP.
Secondly, be aware of what to look out for! There are a number of signs and symptoms that could be an indication that something isn't quite right and needs medical attention. These include; lumps and thickening, changes in skin texture, swelling under the armpit, sudden change in shape or size, and nipple discharge. CoppaFeel! have lots of handy resources (such as the one below) to help.
We recommend familiarising yourself with these signs and symptoms and take time to get to know your chest. Knowing how they feel month to month will aid you in knowing if it's ever time to seek advice.
CoppaFeel! and 'Live Through This' Signs and Symptoms Checking Resources. For more information, visit coppafeel.org .
How to check your chest
I know I said that the signs and symptoms of breast cancer were the really important stuff, but listen up! Knowing how to check is equally as important.
Checking your chest could save your life. Being breast aware and developing a regular checking routine doesn't happen instantly and the key to nailing it, just like many other things in life, is to practice. CoppaFeel! suggests that checking once a month is a good place to start (perfect time to plug our fab text reminder service which you can sign up to here). However, in order to get to know your body and how it may fluctuate (with hormonal changes for example), you might want to check more regularly until you feel you know your body.
You can check your chest anywhere (within reason people, lets maybe not be copping a feel on the tube... although we wouldn't judge). Here are a few places that Team Boobs love to cop a feel:
In the shower
Through a t-shirt whilst watching TV
Laying down, just before bed
Putting on moisturiser or before your tanning routine
In front of the mirror to help with looking for changes
If you notice any changes, please don't panic. Get in contact with your GP, and get yourself booked in to discuss your concerns.
CoppaFeel!'s Self Check-Out tool is the perfect place to go, as it will take you through the whole process in an interactive and clear way. There are resources at the end of the self check-out to help equip you with the knowledge and confidence to be prepared when going to the doctor should you need to. I know I'm biased, but I think it's pretty fab!
Breast cancer in the workplace
If you work for a company that is looking for ways to support your wider team, you've come to the best possible place. CoppaFeel! have an incredible range of resources to help you spread the 'chest love'.
There is sometimes a feeling that health can't be discussed in the workplace, with the stigma of the Big C preventing open and honest conversations about your body. I get it... talking about your body at work is awkward, potentially embarrassing and may be deemed inappropriate -- but it can also change (and save) lives. Below are some great ways that employers could facilitate these conversations in a safe and inclusive way:
Enquire about organising a CoppaFeel! Boobette (our powerhouse team of volunteers with stories about being affected by breast cancer) to come along to your office and talk to the team about their breast cancer experience. Get in touch if this sounds like something you'd like for your team.
Make use of our awareness packs and set up a 'chest chat' in your staff room. Distribute the resources wherever you desire (bathrooms, reception area, kitchens) to help generate the conversations that we should all be having.
Remember, getting to know your body could save your life! The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the better the chance of survival which is exactly what CoppaFeel! want to achieve.
To support CoppaFeel! and join us in our mission to get everyone to know their boobs, pecs and chests, visit coppafeel.org.
Written by Poppy Brady
PR and Marketing Manager | CoppaFeel!
 Statistics from Cancer Research UK and Breast Cancer Now
 Statistics from Cancer Research UK and Breast Cancer Now