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With nearly one million women in the UK having missed vital breast screening due to the coronavirus pandemic*, Breast Cancer Now is reminding the public to regularly check their breasts and contact their GP if they notice any new or unusual changes.

As the UK’s the biggest lingerie seller, M&S is using its reach to raise awareness of Touch Look Check this Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The retailer has updated its online bra sizing tool for October to include the bright and bold Touch Look Check messaging. This handy lingerie calculator, which was refreshed during the pandemic, currently receives 200,000 visits from customers every single month. 

The messaging will also be shared across M&S’s social media channels, customer emails and website reaching millions of customers. 

Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said: 

“An enormous thank you to M&S for the huge amount of support they have given us to date, and for their continued support in helping us to call on women across the UK to check their breasts this Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 

“COVID-19 had paused breast cancer in many ways, including routine breast screening that women in the UK are invited to between the ages of 50 and 70, being suspended for several months. It’s critical that women remain vigilant in checking their breasts regularly and that, despite the pandemic, they still contact their doctor if they notice any new or unusual changes. Most changes are not breast cancer, but it’s so important to get them checked as when breast cancer is diagnosed early there is the best chance of treatment being successful.

“By sharing TLC messages with their customers and colleagues across their channels, including their updated online bra sizing tool, M&S are playing a key part in helping to ensure breast cancer is diagnosed early as often as possible.”


Laura Charles, Lingerie Director at M&S, commented: 

“This year has been extremely challenging for us all, but one thing remains like every year; breast cancer continues to affect many people’s lives. With so many women missing vital screenings, showing ourselves some TLC has never been as important. That’s why, this Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we want to use the power of our platform to help remind as many customers as possible to check their breasts and encourage them to share the TLC message. We’re really proud to support Breast Cancer Now and customers can continue to spark change for a cause that matters to us all by selecting it as their Sparks charity.”

This month, M&S is marking £13 million raised and donated for Breast Cancer Now – a target the retailer set in 2015 as part of a five-year campaign. The money has so far helped to fund 330,000 hours of prevention research and the world’s largest study to research the causes of breast cancer. 

M&S customers can continue making a difference this year by selecting Breast Cancer Now as their chosen Sparks charity, M&S’s loyalty programme. Through the scheme, M&S donates to customers’ selected charities on every shop in-store or online. 

M&S and Breast Cancer Now have worked in partnership for over 19 years. Find out more about the M&S and Breast Cancer Now partnership


—ENDS—


For further information, please contact:

M&S External Comms team
corporate.press@marks-and-spencer.com
0208 718 1919

Or 

Breast Cancer Now Press Office
Press@breastcancernow.org
020 7025 2469 Edmund Grunill
07436107914 Out of Hours


Notes to Editors

*Research by Breast Cancer Now, more information here


Further Breast Cancer Now quote on Touch Look Check:

Manveet Basra, Head of Public Health and Wellbeing at Breast Cancer Now, added: 

Checking your breasts only takes a few minutes. It could be when you get dressed, when you’re showering or putting on moisturiser. Just remember to check the whole breast and the surrounding area, including the upper chest and armpits. There’s no special way, it’s as simple as TLC: touch, look check.


Case studies

Throughout its five-year campaign with Breast Cancer Now, M&S has featured real-life stories of diverse groups of women from across the UK. As it marks £13m raised, M&S has talked to some of the women who have taken part:

Laura Turnball, 32, from Huddersfield, featured in M&S and Breast Cancer Now’s 2019 campaign, which highlighted the invaluable support received by people with breast cancer. 

Laura (centre) with supportive friends Sarah and Sheli from the 2019 campaign 

“It was amazing to be able to share my story and hopefully help someone else going through cancer. I loved that I got to say thank you to my friends and show them how much their support meant to me and got me through. The campaign hopefully helped to change the face of cancer; that I am living with cancer not dying from it, and enjoying every single day of living. Since I took part in the campaign, I have started sharing more and more about my story, in a positive way, like the campaign did. I have also started a bucket list, so I can make the absolute most of living.”


Helen Peedell from Oxfordshire was one of seven inspirational women taking part in the 2017 campaign. 

Helen modeling M&S lingerie for the 2017 campaign 

“Taking part in the 2017 M&S and Breast Cancer Now campaign changed me and my outlook on life. I felt that I was doing something positive out of a pretty bad situation. It made me feel that I could show women that you don’t have to have reconstructive surgery after mastectomy and you can still be feminine, wear gorgeous clothes and look beautiful. Since the campaign, I’ve sat on panels and continue to work with M&S on clothing and lingerie designed for post-surgery women.  Self-checking and breast awareness remains paramount for early detection and treatment. Funding for research is equally as important, one day, I hope there will be a test and treatment for primary breast cancer and the eradication of secondary breast cancer. If it were not for research I probably wouldn’t be here today and for that I am truly grateful.”


In 2016, Miranda Ashitey, 38, from London took part in the retailer’s campaign by modelling its fitness range. 

Miranda taking part in the 2016 campaign encouraging everyone to be more active  

“As well as raising money for important research and support for breast cancer, the awareness of the illness, whether primary or secondary, is put out there on a national level by this partnership with M&S. After the campaign, I did the Great North Run for Breast Cancer Now three times and flew all the way to New Zealand for a solo holiday. I felt life was for living so I wanted to make the most of it. My advice is that it is always important to be breast aware and self-check. No-one is immune, so everyone needs to be vigilant and know what to do if you develop symptoms.”


About Breast Cancer Now:

  • Breast Cancer Now is the UK’s first comprehensive breast cancer charity, combining world-class research and life-changing care to build a complete view of breast cancer and make faster progress for everyone affected.
  • Steered by research and powered by care, Breast Cancer Now’s ambition is that, by 2050, everyone who develops breast cancer will live and be supported to live well.
  • Breast Cancer Now funds around a third of all breast cancer research in the UK. By working with almost 340 of the brightest minds in breast cancer research, the charity is helping discover how to prevent more cases, save more lives and enable more women to live well with the disease.
  • The charity’s award-winning information and services are there to make sure anyone diagnosed with breast cancer can get the support they need to live well with impacts of the disease. Anyone looking for support or information can call Breast Cancer Now’s free Helpline on 0808 800 6000.
  • Breast cancer is the UK’s most common cancer, with around 55,000 women and 370 men being diagnosed each year. An estimated 600,000 people in the UK are alive after a diagnosis of breast cancer, and one in seven women will develop the disease in their lifetime.
  • Despite decades of progress in research and care, around 11,500 women and 80 men still die from the disease every year in the UK, with hundreds of thousands more living with the devastating, long-term physical and emotional impacts of the disease.
  • Breast Cancer Now, the research and care charity, launched in October 2019, created by the merger of specialist support and information charity Breast Cancer Care and leading research charity Breast Cancer Now.
  • For more information on Breast Cancer Now’s work, visit breastcancernow.org or follow us on Twitter or on Facebook.