This week Sixth Form students took part in a special workshop highlighting the importance of checking their breasts, as changes and lumps could be warning signs of breast cancer.
‘Befriend Your Boobs’ (BYB) is an interactive PSHE session run as part of our Senior Societies programme and is led by our school doctor Michelle Ferris, alongside Dr Michelle Newman and Dr Simone, all of whom are Clinical tutors at University College Hospital. Launched by Dr Ferris at North London Collegiate School over 15 years ago, the BYB project visits schools around London and the surrounding areas educating young women on the importance of breast awareness and regular checking. The experienced Doctors understand that it is important to speak frankly about what differences the young women can expect from their breasts and how best to recognise a change that could be worrying.
During the workshop, the method of checking breasts and armpits for lumps is demonstrated to students using specialist prosthetic models. It is the first time that many students have been shown how to check their breasts.
“I’d never checked my breasts before, but I will start doing it, as I now understand how important it is for women to do this regularly.” Year 12 student
Dr Ferris explained to the students that “Examining yourself is a life skill, a bit like cleaning your teeth every day. We ask women to do it regularly as this is the best way to notice any changes.”
“They might be different sizes, and you might have nipples pointing in. You might have one in and one out, which is fine if that is what it has always been like. We ask the young women to be aware of something out of the ordinary.”
As part of the session, the students were also taught the difference between genetic risks such as the BRCA gene and lifestyle risks such as drinking alcohol and having a poor diet, such as too much saturated fat and low Vitamin D.
“My grandmother had breast cancer when she was young, so we are aware of the importance of regular checking as a family. Being shown how to examine ourselves properly using the model is so helpful”. Year 12 Student