Breast cancer awareness charity CoppaFeel! said young people often do not realise they are at risk of breast cancer, even though early diagnosis can save lives.
The charity’s Know Yourself campaign comes after Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding died from breast cancer at just 39 years old earlier this month.
Breast cancer is much more common in older women, but around 5,000 women under the age of 45 are diagnosed with it every year in the UK.
It is also the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in women under 30 in the UK, with 181 new cases every year and around 12 deaths.
But young women aged 18 to 24 are less likely to check their breasts consistently compared to those aged 25 to 35. Data from Coppafeel! shows that only 36 per cent of women aged 18 to 35 check their breasts monthly.
Lucy Lepe - who features in the campaign’s TV advert - was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 27 years old.
She said: “As a young person, I didn’t know much about breast cancer, only what I’d seen on TV, which rarely featured anyone young or black.
“I definitely didn’t know that I could be affected at my age. I got involved in the campaign in the hopes to change that narrative, raise awareness and help more young people understand that breast cancer can affect anyone, irrespective of age, gender or ethnicity.”
Signs of breast cancer include a lump or thickened area, swelling or lump in the armpit, change to nipple appearance and new puckering or dimpling.
CoppaFeel! will launch a television advert, a radio campaign and other adverts to spread awareness of the campaign.
Sinead Molloy, head of marketing at CoppaFeel!, said: “Many people think of breast cancer as something that affects older women, but CoppaFeel! exists to shift that perception, by showing that breast cancer could affect any young person.
“We hope that viewers take away the message that breast cancer is a relevant issue to young lives too, and above all else, understand that nobody knows their body better than they do.”