On March 20, 2019, Loughborough University hosted a “Lumps and Bumps” event, which spanned twelve hours. The event included numerous pop ups across the campus, with the aim to educate 1,001 men and women on how to perform self-exams on their testicles and breasts for unusual lumps that could be a sign of cancer. Both men and women were trained on each self-exam method, with the hope that they could pass this potentially life-saving information to people of all genders.
Training sessions included a short presentation and a chance to practice identifying lumps and unusual masses on specialist training mannequins. While you are probably familiar with the standard CPR dummy, this training helped give the participants a more hands-on approach.
Hopefully, participants felt less like dummies armed with their newfound knowledge.
The Mission Behind Lumps and Bumps
Early detection saves lives but isn’t widely addressed, as the The Urology Foundation found in their 2018 study. According to their findings, UK men are definitely dropping the ball when it comes to knowing information about testicular cancer.
According to a press release put out by Loughborough, “The University and the Students’ Union wanted to highlight that regular self-checking plays a crucial role as it helps people become familiar with their bodies and therefore more likely to detect anything unusual, such as, but not limited to, a lump.”
Rose, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer when he was 17, detected a lump during a routine self-exam, after being inspired to do so by various media campaigns. Dixon, a breast cancer survivor, did not know much of anything about breast cancer or self-exams prior to her diagnosis, but now says that it’s “so important we get to know our bodies.”
The Outcomes of Lumps and Bumps
While the initial goal was to train 1,001 people, the event surpassed its goal by over 150 individuals and ended up training 1,157 staff, students and members of the community.
Beyond the stats, it’s always important to gauge what the people think about these type of events. While it’s educational and necessary, perceived taboo can turn people off. However, this was not the case in this event, as evidenced by these reactions and quotes from participants:
- “The event has been really successful, and we’re really pleased with the number of staff, students and members of the community we’ve had through the door. Hopefully, everyone has learnt a lot and will be safer as a result.” —Liam Davis, Director of Student Opportunities at Loughborough Students’ Union
- “I’ve always been told to check myself but I’ve never known what it feels like to have a bump so the event has given me a good idea so I can now do it myself.” —Stuart Smith, mathematics student
- “I do check myself a little bit, but I didn’t know what I was looking for before. I found the session really useful.” —Lizzie Poole, graphic communication and illustration student
- “The day was good as it got everyone to open up a little more.” —Sarah Dixon, aforementioned breast cancer survivor and alumni
- “It was incredible to be a part of such an uplifting day and empower so many engaged staff and students to get to know their bodies.” —Phoebe Lazell, the Uni Boob Team Manager and Student Fundraiser at CoppaFeel!, one of the event supporters
It’s clear now that these participants have gotten the ball rolling on the importance of regular self-exams and will hopefully pay it forward so their friends and loved ones won’t be ignorant boobs any more!
My Final Thoughts on Lumps and Bumps
After communicating with the team at Loughborough University and learning more about this event, I am all in on this idea. Testicular cancer is on the rise in young men and college is the perfect place to educate young men and women about their risk factors and how to engage in early detection.
In the UK, one person is diagnosed every ten minutes with breast cancer and there are almost 2,500 new cases of testicular cancer each year.
Yet these statistics are even more alarming in the U.S. Here, every two minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, while there will be over 9,500 new cases of testicular cancer this year. It’s time for this idea to cross the Atlantic and take hold in America.
Though, more accurately, it’s more than just the idea that we need to be taking hold of.
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