Hands up who regularly checks their breasts for cancer? (If you’re having a check right now, keep your hands down. It’s okay.) Now put your hands up if you actually know what you should be looking for…
I’m the former. Kinda. If regularly means when I suddenly get a reminder on the telly and I have a frantic feel and then forget about it for a while.
That’s why I’m delighted to be writing today’s post about new clothing site Patatam – bear with me, it will makes sense in a moment.
Patatam is a French secondhand company that has just arrived in the UK. It sells good quality clothing for women and children, all of which are checked in its warehouse and have prices that are up to 90 per cent off.
Being all about sustainable fashion, I love that it stocks high-street names such as Primark and Matalan as well as the likes of Monsoon, M&S and Zara. These are labels that too often end up in landfill so as well as saving money, you’re helping to save the planet.
Everything it sells is checked in its warehouse before it goes on the site and Patatam says they will only allow pieces of “excellent condition”.
There’s also free 48-hour delivery service or £2 to get your goodies next day, plus free returns and no minimum spend.
“But what about the boobs?” I hear you ask. Well, get yourself over to the site today and you’ll find an auction of unique clothes donated by the beautiful Millie Mackintosh – formerly of Made in Chelsea – to raise funds for CoppaFeel!.
CoppaFeel! is a breast cancer charity that has education at its heart. It helps people understand the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and how to check for it. It also gives them the confidence to go to their GP if they find anything they don’t feel is right.
Regular checking means breast cancers can be diagnosed at the earliest stage possible – and that can really be a case of life or death.
The five-year survival rate for people diagnosed with breast cancer in the early part of the disease, what’s known as Stage I, is 99%. That’s almost every one. Now consider that drops dramatically to only 15% for those patients diagnosed at Stage IV, when the cancer has spread to the rest of the body.
It’s not just older women, too. In the UK, it’s estimated that 5,600 women under the age of 45 are diagnosed with breast cancer every year.
This is why it’s brilliant that Millie has joined forces with CoppaFeel! to help spread the word because the more we know, the more chance we have to beat this awful disease.
Plus, you can bid on some gorgeous and unique pieces from her wardrobe, including cigarette trousers, Rixo dresses and some never-seen-before pieces from Millie Mackintosh Fashion. The pics above are just a highlight…
“When I get bored of clothes, I like to ensure that someone else will be able to enjoy them,” says Millie. “I have a really varied wardrobe – a lot of it is by high street and luxury designers.
“But I also love to shop second-hand to get really unique, vintage pieces or items I know no one else will be wearing, so a website like Patatam is perfect for me.”
CoppaFeel!’s marking manager Zoe Roll says she’s “thrilled” by the collaboration.
“It’s so important to raise awareness about breast cancer as knowing your boobs and pecs could save your life,” she adds. “Donations from this auction will help us to continue our work and reach more people.”
You can start bidding now at Millie Mackintosh x CoppaFeel! and the auction ends on 14 April. Plus Patatam has promised to double the funds raised so every penny truly counts.
How to check your breasts
Everyone should check their breasts regularly – men, too. For menopausal women, it’s very important as HRT can slightly increase the risk of developing breast cancer (and please note the use of SLIGHTLY there. I have breast cancer in my family and have been told by an expert in these matters that my risk by using HRT is very, very small.)
Know your breasts
Everyone’s breasts are different – even your own will differ between left and right (I have a preference for Rightie, but please don’t tell Leftie that. I’d hate for them to fall out. Could be embarrassing.)
Get used to how they feel throughout the month. I know in the days before a period, mine get sore and lumpy. But there are plusses – being quite fried eggy, they’d get a little bigger too.
Plus, menopause can make them feel different, too. Some women feel their boobs are softer and not as firm or lumpy.
Also, remember your “breasts” are not just your lady lumps. You need to know how they look all the way up to your collarbone and around your armpit. Have a feel in the shower, when your skin is smooth from water and suds, or take a look in the mirror (I know one woman who owes her life to doing just this).
It is only by knowing how your breasts are normal that you will know when they are abnormal.
Breast changes to look out for
If you notice any of these, go and see your GP:
- any changes in the size or shape of your breast
- puckering or dimpling or any change in the look and feel of your skin
- a lump, any thickening or a bump in one side that is not on the other – that includes your armpit, too
- any liquid or bleeding coming from your nipple
- a change in the nipple size and position or if there is a rash on or around it
- your nipple looks like it’s starting to turn inside out or it starts pointing in a different way
- discomfort or pain in your breast (this is a rare symptom of breast cancer, but can happen).
Most women have lumps in their breasts and 90 per cent of the time, they’re not cancerous. There are also many reasons why the breast can change, such as periods and menopause. But if you have any doubt, go and see your GP. There’s no need to be embarrassed or scared.
Remember, the sooner you seek medical help
- the better your survival rate if something is wrong;
- you have more chance of not needing a mastectomy or chemotherapy if you catch it early, and
- you’ll spend less time worrying about something that might not need worrying about.
And please, don’t ignore your mammogram. It is over in minutes and while it’s not comfy (and is rather chilly), it doesn’t hurt. It certainly is not anywhere near as bad as going through chemotherapy. Not even close.
CoppaFeel! is filled with good advice, personal stories and some pretty wicked T-shirts, bags and accessories, too. Put it on your bookmarks.
I’m also marking CoppaFeel! down in my diary each month to remind myself to do just this. Five minutes pressing around to potentially save my life? That’s a no-brainer.
How do you remind yourself to check for breast cancer? Give me some tips in the comments below…