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Women aged 18 to 25 urged to check for breast cancer symptoms

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Women aged 18 to 25 are being urged to check themselves for breast cancer symptoms.

The charity CoppaFeel! said young people often do not even realise they are at risk of breast cancer, even though early diagnosis can save lives.

While the disease is much more common in older women, around 5,000 women under the age of 45 are diagnosed with it every year in the UK.

Breast cancer is also the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in women under 30 in the UK (with 181 new cases every year and around 12 deaths).

The CoppaFeel! Know Yourself campaign comes after Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding, 39, died from breast cancer earlier this month.

Lucy Lepe – who features in the campaign’s TV advert – was diagnosed with breast cancer aged 27.

She said: “As a young person, I didn’t know much about breast cancer, only what I’d seen on TV, which rarely featured anyone young or black.

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“I definitely didn’t know that I could be affected at my age.

Breast cancer symptoms

Women who notice any of the following symptoms should visit their GP, according to the NHS.

• A lump or thickened area, swelling or lump in the armpit

• A lump or area of thickened tissue in either breast

• A change in the look or feel of your skin, such as puckering or dimpling, a rash or redness

• A change in the size or shape of one or both breasts

• A rash (like eczema), crusting, scaly or itchy skin or redness on or around your nipple

• A change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast

“I got involved in the campaign in the hopes to change that narrative, raise awareness and help more young people understand that breast cancer can affect anyone, irrespective of age, gender or ethnicity.”

Alongside a TV advert, CoppaFeel! will be launching a radio campaign and other adverts.

Sinead Molloy, head of marketing at CoppaFeel!, said: “Many people think of breast cancer as something that affects older women, but CoppaFeel! exists to shift that perception, by showing that breast cancer could affect any young person.

“We hope that viewers take away the message that breast cancer is a relevant issue to young lives too, and above all else, understand that nobody knows their body better than they do.”