Say pants to cancer: Underwear labels spread the word about symptoms

Labels in the garments will urge buyers to contact their GP if they notice possible signs of breast or testicular cancer.

And packaging will feature QR codes that can be scanned with a smartphone to access more advice on the web.

The labels will launch in men’s boxers, and later crop top bras, sold by Morrisons in its own-brand Nutmeg clothing range.

Dame Cally Palmer, NHS England’s national director for cancer, said it was the first time the health service had partnered with a supermarket to put messages on clothing.

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She added: “Cancer survival is at an all-time high – survival for both breast and testicular cancers have improved significantly over the last 50 years and we’re seeing more people than ever before diagnosed at an early stage.

“This partnership with Morrisons is just one of the many ways we are ensuring people are aware of potential cancer symptoms.

“I want to urge everyone to be aware of their own bodies – please look out for lumps and bumps or anything else that is unusual for you – and get checked out early, it could save your life.”

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Symptoms of breast cancer include a lump or change in the look, shape or feel of breasts, while warning signs for testicular cancer include painless swelling, a lump or change in shape or texture of the testicles.

More than nine in ten women survive for at least five years if their breast cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, but this falls to 39 per cent if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

Almost all men survive testicular cancer but if the cancer has spread, five-year-survival rates can reduce to 65 per cent.

David Scott, corporate affairs director at Morrisons, said: “We are proud to be leading the way in offering NHS England a new route to reach customers with important messages about body awareness and the symptoms of breast and testicular cancer.

“The new care labels on our crop top bras and boxers urge people to get to know their bodies so that they can more easily notice changes and to contact their GP practice sooner if something doesn’t feel right.

“In the majority of cases, it won’t be cancer, but where it is cancer, diagnosing it early means treatments are more likely to be successful and can ultimately save lives.”

Natalie Robinson recently underwent surgery for breast cancer after discovering a lump in April.

The 35-year-old visited her GP and was referred for tests, which led to an early diagnosis of stage one breast cancer.

After discussing treatment options with her surgeon, she decided to have a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction.

The operation was successful and she went home the same day.

Natalie, a physiotherapist from Essex, has been photographed modelling the new underwear for the campaign.

She said: “I’m passionate about raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and supporting this amazing partnership from the NHS and Morrisons seemed like the perfect opportunity.

“The underwear carries such a vital message and I want to help encourage as many shoppers as possible to contact their GP practice if they see any unusual changes to their breasts, it could save their life.”

Former Morrison’s employee Edward Solly was diagnosed with testicular cancer in his 20s following a sporting injury.

Tests and scans revealed a cancerous mass which had already spread to his abdomen.

His chemotherapy and surgery were successful, and he is now cancer free.

Ed, now 35, was still able to have a daughter after some of his sperm was saved pre-treatment.

But he is aware his cancer might have been found earlier if he had regularly checked himself.

He gives talks to boys in schools about the importance of checks – and knows at least one ended up being diagnosed early as a result.

Ed, a photographer from Kent, welcomed the “brilliant” partnership between the NHS and Morrisons.

He said: “Boxers that aren’t just comfy and look great, but also highlight a really important health message to ensure we are all checking our bodies.

“As a cancer survivor myself, I know that a daily reminder to be body aware really could save your life.

“Who knew a pair of undies could hold so much power? Getting diagnosed early really can make all the difference, so remember, if something in your body doesn’t feel right, contact your GP.”

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