After 26 years of being involved with the Estee Lauder Breast Cancer Campaign, Elizabeth Hurley (or Liz to us) remains passionate about the cause. "Evelyn Lauder asked me to get involved in 1995," explains the actress, who lives in Herefordshire.
"Around the same time that I had just lost my beloved grandmother to breast cancer. I immediately said yes, knowing how close this was to me and my family," says Liz, 56.
"Evelyn recognised that women around the world were dying, and no one was talking about it, and she wanted to change that"’
She remains very close to her 19-year-old son Damian, from her relationship with the late businessman Steve Bing – and even though he has his own career as a model, likes to keep tabs on him!
"I torture him by making him text me and check in all the time. There’s a lot of eye-rolling from his end," she has previously said. "Given I'm a single mother and he's an only child, by default we do spend a lot of time together and we’re utterly comfortable in each other's company. I rather think I've simply been blessed with a child whose personality gels with mine."
Here, Liz chats about the importance of self-checking your boobs, her secrets to staying healthy and how other people’s reaction to her bikini photos surprises her…
It’s so tragic about Sarah Harding’s passing, have you lost anyone else to this cancer?
At one time I had four girlfriends, all mothers, battling this disease. Breast cancer doesn’t discriminate, we are all vulnerable. Every time I hear of a new diagnosis-whether I know the person or not-I feel inspired to keep going and raise more funds and more awareness.
What advice would you give to others around self-checking?
Self-checking is really important; I have personally met many women who have discovered lumps themselves, including several of my close friends. By familiarising yourself with your own breasts, it should become easier to spot, or feel, any changes.
What’s the best method for carrying out self-checks ?
Dr Zoe Williams is an NHS doctor who gives wonderful online demonstrations on how to self- check. I took part, with Alesha Dixon and Dr Zoe, in a virtual self-check event on 20 October- the aim was to break a world record for the largest self-check event ever.
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Do mammograms hurt?
Evelyn Lauder gifted me my first mammogram for my 40th birthday. I’m happy to report that they’re not at all painful, just a bit uncomfortable.
Are you terrified of what they’ll find when you go for yours?
Waiting for the result of anything medical is always a bit nerve-racking, but at least if you self- check and have regular mammograms, if something is found, it hopefully will have been caught early. We know that early detection saves lives as breast cancer mortality rates have decreased by 41% among women since the late 1980s because of earlier detection and improved treatment.
Do you feel your own boobs for lumps and bumps?
I self-check every month, in front of the mirror. It’s important to remember to do it at the same time of the month each month, as your breasts fluctuate due to hormonal changes. I self-check on the 1st of every month.
So what are your tips for looking so amazing at 56?
I eat quite a lot, but rarely eat junk or processed foods, I don’t eat take-aways, only drink sodas once in a blue moon and don’t drink much alcohol. I try to eat lots of vegetables and try not to eat between meals. My weakness is peanut butter- if it’s in the house, I’ll stick my finger in the jar every time I walk past it.
Do you still chew food 40 times before swallowing, as you once claimed?
It’s important to chew, but I doubt if I’ve ever made it to 40 chews a morsel, not sure where you got that from! I rarely think I’m on a diet, but sometimes when I see what some people eat, I realise that to them it may look like I’m on a permanent one.
Your wardrobe must be stuffed full of all the pink dresses from the campaign!
Luckily, I adore pink. I borrow most of my dazzling pink costumes, so sadly they’re not hanging in my closet. Brands are wonderfully supportive of this cause as everyone knows someone who has been affected by breast cancer and most people want to help.
After publishing new research revealing that half of all women aren’t checking their breasts regularly enough, The Estée Lauder Companies (ELC) UK & Ireland’s 2021 Breast Cancer Campaign is inviting every body to join the second Time to Unite – a live virtual self-check event.
At 7pm on Wednesday 20 October , Time to Unite aims to connect, unite, empower and encourage every body, from all communities, to come together and be breast aware. To attend Time to Unite, please visit timetoendbreastcancer.co.uk on 20th October 2021 at 19:00 BST.
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