‘Anyone can get it’: UoYBT Urges you to “Check Your Boobs”

Vision speaks to Lucy Francis, the Boob Team president, on how the University of York Boob Team makes a push for inclusivity and spreads the message to check your boobs.

The Boob Team is part of the CoppaFeel! charity that aims to get everyone checking their chests so that the late detection of breast cancer is a thing of the past.

“The goal is to spread the message throughout the country to every campus because it’s often overlooked that young people can get breast cancer.  People often think of it as something you just get when you’re older, but that’s not the case. It’s a massive misconception that breast cancer only happens to old people, or older women in particular, which is a small category considering everyone can get it because everyone has breast tissue. That means that there are so many people who don’t even think that they need to check. Boob teams like our own mean that we can reach out to young adults and spread our message of checking your boobs”.

“If you start from a young age and get used to it, then you’re going to carry it in and get used to your normal and then be more equipped to find if something is wrong.”

Your normal is, I think, the key. Everyone’s boobs are different and unique to them. Lucy stressed to me that they tell you things to look out for, not that if you have x, y or z that means something is wrong. Everyone is different, and it’s important to know your own body. “We want people to get to know their normal so if something seems a bit off, they can recognise that easily and get it checked out quickly.”

And because everyone is different, Lucy and the Boob Team committee want their society to be inclusive of everyone. They have their diversity and well-being officers who ensure that they reach out to diverse audiences, which, according to Lucy, “is really important because when you’re trying to spread this message: you want it to get to everyone”.

The committee of 22/23 consisted of only women and non-binary people, which reflects how the wider world feels. Men often don’t think that they need to worry about breast cancer, or maybe don’t feel included in these conversations.

Reflecting on this, Lucy told Vision that “it’s a really big issue that CoppaFeel! gets us to look into. I think it’s such a big misconception that men can’t get breast cancer because they don’t have boobs but it’s very important to get the message out that everyone has breast tissue: male, female, non-binary, so anyone can get it”.

“We’re really trying to target men because if they don’t think they can get it then if there is something wrong they might not get diagnosed until quite late. We’ve now got Issac on our team which should really help us reach out to more men because I think when it’s a group of all women and non-binary people, men might not think it’s a space for them”.

Being inclusive is massively important to UoYBT, given that their main message is that anyone can get breast cancer. “Everyone is included in our group and welcome. We think that’s very important so we try to spread an image of diversity so everyone knows they’re welcome.”