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Avon research shows mother-daughter relationship could be key to breast cancer awareness

October 4th 2013 / Ayesha Muttucumaru Google+ Ayesha Muttucumaru

Avon research shows mother-daughter relationship could be key to breast cancer awareness

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As Breast Cancer Awareness Month is underway, Avon believes the key to early detection could be improved with a simple chat with your mother. Ayesha Muttucumaru reports

New research has revealed that the mother-daughter relationship could hold the key to the early detection of breast cancer.

Commissioned by Avon UK, the study revealed that mother-daughter breast awareness discussions could help eradicate the fear of breast cancer, encourage more women to be breast aware at an earlier age and increase opportunities for earlier detection later in life. With over a third of mothers (31%) revealed to have not spoken with their daughters about breast awareness and over 80% of women interviewed having never spoken to their own mothers about the topic, Avon are keen to equip mothers with the confidence and tools needed to ensure the future generation is fully breast aware.

We’ve all been guilty of shying away from cringe-worthy conversations with our folks (the sex talk, the puberty talk, the ‘I was not drunk’ talk – just me? Sorry), but with breast cancer being the most common cancer in the UK with around 135 women diagnosed every day, it’s definitely one conversation worth ignoring any awkwardness to have. The study showed that one in three women in the UK do not check their breasts, so by encouraging good habits at a younger age it is hoped that women could increase breast awareness across their life course and improve the rate of early detection too.

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Always a pioneer in promoting breast cancer awareness in years gone by, this year the brand wanted to build on last year’s study focused on the psychology of habit formation and breast checking. Commenting on Avon’s Breast Promise – The Next Generation research, Andrea Slater, Avon UK’s general manager says, “This year we wanted to investigate how important the mother-daughter relationship could be in helping encourage healthy breast checking behaviour in future generations. By providing mothers with the right tools and information to pass on this important habit to their daughters, we believe it could have a significant impact on the early detection of breast cancer.”

So why is this conversation not as common as it should be? The research, in association with Breakthrough Breast Cancer, showed that most mothers were concerned about misinformation and passing on incorrect advice. With this in mind Avon has devised a piece of educational guidance with the support of Breakthrough for mothers to use to talk to their daughters which can be found here. Their Touch. Look. Check campaign is also particularly useful in providing a helpful checklist of the things to look out for.

According to Professor Janet Reibstein, leading psychologist and breast cancer specialist, “Our research found that both mothers and daughters are very aware of health; however neither group is in a regular breast checking habit. There is a real opportunity to equip mothers with knowledge so they can feel more at ease in talking about breast awareness to their daughters. Opening up the conversation between mum and daughter is likely to instill a regular breast checking habit in daughters from a younger age, as we know that the earlier good health habits are developed the more entrenched they become as normal behaviour.”

Eluned Hughes, Head of Public Health at Breakthrough Breast Cancer adds, “The importance of being breast aware has never been greater: breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK and most cases are picked up by women themselves. We know early detection is key as the earlier breast cancer is found the better the chance of beating it. So we encourage all women to know their breasts and be aware of any changes, and if you do spot anything unusual go and check with your doctor.”

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