About 73 per cent of those surveyed by beauty company Avon Products, Inc. said they regularly check for breast cancer signs. But most couldn’t identify them.
Respondents were asked to identify 10 common symptoms of early breast cancer — only two per cent got all the answers correct.
The early symptoms — outlined in a 2009 Cancer Research UK report — include change in position of the nipple, nipple pulling in, pain in breasts, dimpling of the skin, discharge or bleeding, lump or thickening of the breast, rashes, redness, lump or thickening in the armpit, changes in size of breasts, change in shape of the breast.
One-quarter said a lump is the only sign of breast cancer that can be identified without medical help.
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While many answered questions incorrectly, 42 per cent said they were confident that they could detect a sign of cancer on their breasts.
The report also highlighted problems when it comes to the awareness of lifestyle choices that can increase the likelihood of cancer. Sixty-four per cent of respondents didn’t know that exercise can help lower the risk of developing cancer, while 63 per cent weren’t aware that excessive alcohol consumption can increase the chances.
Sheri McCoy, the CEO of Avon, said the survey helps emphasize the work that is still needed when it comes to awareness.
“Early detection is crucial to fighting breast cancer, yet our survey found that women don’t know their risks or what signs to look for.”
“We want to change this lack of knowledge by using the power of our global network of women,” she said in a press release.
According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, early detection of breast cancer can increase the chances of survival. When detected in Stage 0, it is non-invasive cancer that hasn’t spread and can be easily treated. Chances of survival in Stage 1 are also high when breast cancer is easily detected and still contained in one area.
The survey results come ahead of Breast Cancer Awareness month in October.
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Breast cancer in Canada
According to the Canadian Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in Canadian women and the second-leading cause of death among them.
In 2017, the organization estimated 26,300 women will be diagnosed with the illness, and 5,000 will die. About 230 Canadian men will also be diagnosed with the potentially deadly disease.
The organization adds that some late signs of breast cancer include weight loss, nausea, jaundice, bone pain, loss of appetite, and muscle weakness.
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While nearly half of Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetime, the chances of surviving are increasing.
According to a June 2017 report by the society, early prevention and detection, and new drugs are boosting the chances of survival.
Breast cancer patients in Canada have an 87 per cent survival rate.
Cancers with the highest likelihood of survival in Canada include thyroid (98 per cent survival rate), testicular (96 per cent), and prostate (95 per cent).
This Avon Products, Inc. survey was completed by 19,000 respondents, and was live online for two weeks in August and September 2017. It was completed by Avon representatives, 97 per cent of which are female. The survey was translated in local languages, and available to people in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Educador, Italy, Romania, Turkey, South Africa, Philippines, U.K., Peru, Poland, Mexico, and Russia.