Powerful Testimonies at Time to Unite Virtual Self-check Event

Thousands tune in to watch Alesha Dixon and Victoria Derbyshire host the Estée Lauder Companies UK & Ireland Breast Cancer Campaign ‘Time To Unite’ Event

The Time to Unite panel

A staggering 3,882 people joined the Time to Unite live-virtual self-check event on the evening of Wednesday 20th October 2021, and it is believed to be the largest self-examination breast check moment in the UK, more participants than the current Guinness World Record set in 2016 that had 2,790 people.

Co-host artist and TV personality Alesha Dixon commented on the number of people that attended the event, “I’m thrilled to say that 3,822 people have joined our event tonight which means we’ve smashed last year’s total and it’s an unofficial world record for the largest ever self-check! Congratulations everyone!”

The Time to Unite self-check

The self-check, led by Dr Zoe Williams took place online with cameras off for privacy, where everybody simultaneously self-checked their breasts. The virtual self-check was hosted by Alesha and broadcaster and breast cancer survivor Victoria Derbyshire. The event also featured a host of inspirational women who shared their stories and empowered everybody to regularly self-check, so that breast cancer can be caught earlier to improve survival.

People across the country tuned in to learn the importance of self-checking and experience a live step-by-step tutorial led by Dr Zoe. The call to help end breast cancer is more urgent than ever as female breast cancer is now the most commonly diagnosed cancer worldwide —surpassing lung cancer for the first time in 2020—with an estimated 2.3 million new cases.

Campaign reveals black women are less likely to check signs of breast cancer

A key focus of the event was exploring the barriers to self-checking specifically in Black communities, who are least likely to check their breasts. Leanne Pero, founder of Black Women Rising, spoke passionately about the barriers towards Black women when being diagnosed with cancer, and the barriers to self-checking. 

Leanne highlighted the research from Estée Lauder Companies UK & Ireland that showed over a quarter (27%) of Black women never check their breasts: “Honestly, I’m not surprised. So many times I speak to people, and they ask me why we need to have a separate project like ‘Black Women Rising‘. The reason is because there needs to be better education and more knowledge around breast cancer, and how it affects Black women. Inclusivity is so important; and I see a time when Black Women Rising won’t need to exist, as more charities and individuals facilitate the programmes and treatment Black women need”.

Leanne then went on to talk about the importance of self-checking and the barriers she has seen towards breast cancer diagnosis in the Black community: “The word cancer is not spoken about in Black households; and there needs to be more open conversations and education on this topic. Cancer doesn’t mean end of life. Cancer doesn’t always mean death. If you detect it early, it can be treatedPeople of colour have different needs to their white counterparts, but unfortunately, people don’t want to hear it. That is part of the problem. We’re going to keep speaking until our voices are heard”.

Learning a new life skill

Dr Zoe demonstrated live how women should be checking themselves and highlighted that checking should become part of your self-care routine: “We know that a lot of people don’t feel confident checking their breasts. So if you’re new to this and you’re new to checking – don’t think of this check as trying to identify something that’s not right. Think of it as learning a skill, so you can become familiar with your breasts and then you can you detect a change.

Dr Zoe said: “If you ever think you spot something that might be a sign of cancer, or you notice a lump or change in your breasts, make an appointment, see your GP, and be examined. But most importantly, don’t panic. Usually it turns out not be breast cancer – but self-checking gives us the best chance for breast cancer to be detected early and when breast cancer is detected early, it can be treated.”

You can watch the event here: https://www.timetoendbreastcancer.co.uk/

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