Nearly three quarters of men unaware they can develop breast cancer, study reveals

Nearly three quarters of men do not realise that they are susceptible to breast cancer, a new study has revealed.

Avon’s first annual ‘Boob Census’ polled more than 2,000 UK men and women and found that 72 per cent of men surveyed did not realise they could develop the disease.

In addition, nearly a third (30 per cent) of younger men aged between 16-24 believed it was not possible for men to develop breast cancer, dropping to one in five men aged between 25-34-years-old.

“Approximately 400 men a year in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer, so it’s concerning to see from Avon’s research that there is a lack of understanding of this, particularly amongst younger men,” said Dr Frankie Jackson-Spence, NHS doctor.

“While the disease is more commonly found in women, it is still important that men are aware of the signs and symptoms, making sure they are checking their bodies for any signs of change.”

Of the men surveyed, 65 per cent said they do not check themselves for breast cancer symptoms, with 29 per cent stating that they don’t know what to look out for, while 30 per cent do not know how to check or have never been taught.

For men, nearly half (48 per cent) have never discussed breast cancer with anyone, while 70 per cent agree that there should be be more awareness around breast cancer in men.

According to the NHS, breast cancer in men usually occurs in those aged 60 and above, but can occasionally affect younger men.

Symptoms of breast cancer in men can include a lump in the breast, which is usually hard, painless and does not move around within the breast, the nipple turning inwards, nipple discharge, which may include blood, a sore or rash around the nipple that does not go away, hardness, swelling or redness around the nipple, and small bumps in the armpit (swollen glands).

People with concerns about their breasts or chest should contact their GP for advice (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
People with concerns about their breasts or chest should contact their GP for advice (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

In the same study, Avon found that 2.7 million women were at risk of breast cancer due to having never checked their breasts, with a quarter stating they do not feel confident that they could spot the signs.

One in seven women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, making early detection and frank discussion critical.

As part of the 30th anniversary of beauty brand Avon’s Breast Cancer Promise their #NormalForMe movement highlights the importance of regular checking to notice what is and is not “normal” for individuals.

Avon’s CEO Angela Cretu said: “Despite the progress that has been made, our latest research suggests there is still more work to do when it comes to opening up the conversation about breast health and not enough people are checking their chest regularly.

“To help raise awareness and normalise conversations about breast health, this Breast Cancer Awareness Month we invite our community to share their three words on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok, to remind people how important it is to check your body regularly and get to know what’s normal for you.”

The beauty brand, which has previously raised £28m for their charity partners, will be fundraising with CoppaFeel! to encourage people to check their chests regularly.