CoppaFeel!, a UK-based breast cancer awareness charity, has launched The Self-Checkout, a new tool to help young people get to know their chests. Although breast cancer is less common in younger people, it can still happen, as people of all genders develop breast tissue at a young age.

In the UK, the most common type of cancer for females aged 25-49 is breast cancer, accounting for more than 4 in 10 (44%) of all cases.

CoppaFeel! exists to help everyone stand the best possible chance of surviving breast cancer, with the goal of ensuring all breast cancers are diagnosed at the earliest stage possible. By empowering young people to check regularly, CoppaFeel! is helping them to spot any unusual changes early and seek medical help at an early stage. When breast cancer is detected early, treatments are more effective and survival rates are higher.

Born out of behavioural insight research conducted over two years, CoppaFeel! worked with the Common Collective to develop The Self-Checkout in order to address the barriers that prevent young people from checking regularly, especially around the lack of knowledge and confidence about how to check.

The charity’s research shows that currently only around 30% of young women are checking on a monthly basis and only around 50% feel confident in doing so.

Sharon Allen, Research Consultant and Facilitator at Common Collective said, “We built in counters to help normalise checking, by enabling young people to see themselves as part of a ‘community of checkers’ and a checklist to help young people work through checking step-by-step. We also played with CoppaFeel!’s upbeat style, positive tone and messaging to reduce feelings of fear and avoidance that young people said they felt when checking before using the tool.”

The Self-Checkout is a health promotion tool to guide people through the steps of getting started with self-checks and provide practical tools to build user’s confidence in their ability to do this on a regular basis. The tool includes a ‘check-in’ count, a step-by-step guide and share function as well as important SMS, email, calendar and shower sticker reminders, downloadable checklists, and video content.

“The CoppaFeel! Self-Checkout will help us embed behaviours that will save lives now and in years to come, combining the best of digital engagement with simple, directive health messages, whilst catering for the preferences of the users,” Claire McDonald, Head of Communications at NHS England and Trustee of CoppaFeel! said. “This is an essential new tool that will ensure the earlier diagnosis of breast cancer.”

The new tool is a first of its kind, one-stop-shop for advice on how to check your boobs, pecs, or chest, giving you the option to personalise the guidance according to your needs – with options to select terms based on your gender identity and age, and whether you are pregnant or taking the contraceptive pill.

“As a transmasculine non-binary person, it’s so important to me that discussions around my body are inclusive,” Artist and activist, Az Franco said. “With options to choose your preferred language, as well as a wide variety of chests being represented and discussed, CoppaFeel! have done a great job at that. I am super excited to see how this develops. This is the inclusivity we need!”

CoppaFeel!’s existing messenger assistant called the Boob Bot talks people through a boob-check. Boob Bot user and self-checker Stephanie Libous added, “Don’t underestimate your risks just because they say, ‘you’re too young’. I had that misconception, and it took a good friend being diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer to wake up. I had never used anything like a checking guide before and it was helpful to go through a check step-by-step… and because of that, I discovered a change in one of my breasts. I’m thrilled to see CoppaFeel! continuing to educate not just young women, but all young adults on the importance of checking yourself and I think the Self-Checkout is going to make a big difference to people’s experience of checking and understanding of breast cancer.”

Visit The Self-Checkout here.

Please note: The Self-Checkout is not a diagnostic or decision tool, and all medical decisions should be made in consultation with your GP.

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Nisha Kotecha is the Founder of Good News Shared. Having worked and volunteered for charities in the UK for over 10 years, Nisha is on a mission to highlight how amazing charities are.

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