How the Change & Check Campaign Is Making a Difference to Breast Cancer Awareness
29th September 2021
Throughout the month of October, we have partnered with the Change and Check campaign run by ITV’s Lorraine to bring more awareness to breast cancer and the importance of regularly checking your breasts.
So, we’d like your help.
When you shop from our specially curated Pink Edit all profits will be donated to Future Dreams; an amazing charity which works in collaboration with the Change and Check team to raise much-needed funds for the ongoing support, awareness, and research into breast cancer. With your support we can make a difference to the lives of people living with or affected by breast cancer.
We caught up with the founder of the Change and Check campaign and breast cancer ass-kicker Helen Addis on her journey with cancer and what she is doing to empower other individuals going through cancer.
Your story has been an inspiration to many women, what made you be so open about your journey?
It was my way of dealing with it. It was my therapy! There's no right or wrong way to deal with your journey but for me I felt the need to share. I think because my diagnosis came so unexpectedly it made me realise that if it could happen to me then it could happen to anyone! So, I made it my mission to spread the 'boob' love.
The Change and Check campaign has gained real momentum since it launched in April 2019. How has the campaign impacted lives?
Since the launch 51 women have contacted me to say that the campaign has helped them find their cancer. What's so interesting is that 50 of the women were all under the screening age which means that the only person to find their cancer was themselves.
I was so proud when the campaign was discussed in Parliament. It's great to know that it's being recognised and I'm hoping it means that more outlets will support. With all major retailers, Royal Mail and the Police Force adopting the use of the Change and Check stickers in its changing rooms means that the message should be reaching far and wide! It's even been picked up in New Zealand!
What advice would you give to women who are unsure of how to check their breasts?
My advice would be to check out Dr Hilary's examination video. I would also say that we're not scaremongering, the important thing is that you check yourself regularly so that you know what your normal is. Do it once a month (after your period) and then you'll notice any changes.
How important is the Change and Check campaign in raising awareness on breast cancer?
The campaign is so important and it's a proven formula. Early diagnosis really does save lives. Breast cancer is so treatable if it's caught in time. If I hadn't checked then my outcome would’ve been very different.
What’s next for Change and Check?
The next steps will be to get Change and Check endorsed by the Government. We need its support to be able to get the stickers into council run buildings like GP surgeries, hospitals, community centres etc. This year Lorraine Kelly and I will be climbing the O2 along with the women whose lives were saved by Change and Check. I figured that the O2 is perfect because it looks like a huge boob!
You recently launched the C List, a one stop beauty shop for those going through treatment for cancer and beyond. How important is it to open the conversation around living with cancer?
It's so important to open the conversation about living with cancer. After my breast cancer diagnosis not only was I having to deal with losing my breast but being told my hair, nails and skin will take a blow from the treatment well and truly took the elastic out of my knickers.
It was advised to ‘just use baby products’ but how many 6-week-old babies need a splash of lippy, or a nail varnish, or even a deodorant? I wanted products which would work and work well. I found it so difficult to know what I could or couldn’t use. When I visited my local chemist to get advice I was met with blank faces.
This is exactly why The C List was created. Think of it as a one-stop shop for all things beauty and gifts when it comes to being on treatment (and beyond). We’ve found all the best products for you to use which have been recommended by fellow cancer arse-kickers. We’ve done the hard work, so you don’t have to because you’ve got enough on your plate right now.
But we’re more than just a shop, we’re a community. On The C List you’ll find tutorials on everything like how to fill in your eyebrows, tips on telling loved ones, or an article on one woman’s story about living with Skin Melanoma. We’re like a club. Albeit a cancer club and not the club we ever thought we’d be in, but if this is the card, we’ve been dealt then let’s smash it together.
What tips & tricks helped you while going through treatment?
My best advice is to say YES to help. I tried to muddle through in the early days but soon realised that I couldn't manage. So, I accepted offers of childcare / meals / shopping etc. It made such an enormous difference.
What can someone who has a friend or family member experiencing cancer do to support them?
I would say that the best people can do is to offer to take them to their appointments. Offer to do the shopping or to pick up the kids from school. It's the practical things which get tricky. I found cooking tired me out, so my friends often made me something which was amazing!
You are an Ambassador for Future Dreams, how important is it for you to support a charity like Future Dreams.
Breast cancer isn't going anywhere so it became very important to me to get behind a charity. Future Dreams is exceptionally great because they support breast awareness but vitally, they fund research into secondary breast cancer.
Lastly, we love how empowering your Instagram account is, did you ever think it would have as much impact as it has?
I honestly didn't think that @thetittygritty would ever be more than an outlet for me to laugh at myself. But I received a lot of messages from fellow cancer thrivers saying that it was helping get them through their journey. If there's one good thing to come out of this cancer lark is that I’ve made so many friends within the cancer community.
Not sure how to check your breasts? Follow our how-to guide in partnership with Future Dreams which we'll be posting with each online order and purchase in store. Or check out our blog on how to check your breasts.