New bra campaign reminds women to “touch themselves”

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OCTOBER is breast cancer month, a time when we usually “think pink”.  But this week we’ve been encouraged to “rock out in black”.

In tribute to Australian rock goddess, Chrissy Amphlett of the Divinyls, who lost her battle with breast cancer in 2013 aged 53, Australian intimates brand Berlei have created two new bras for the 2016 I Touch Myself Project, a charity founded by Chrissy’s husband Charley Drayton to raise awareness of the importance of self-examination and early detection.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide. My guess is you probably know someone who has succumbed to breast cancer. A family member, a loved one, a friend, a colleague. Every day in Australia about 50 women are diagnosed with breast or a gynaecological cancer. However research indicates that survival rates continue to improve in Australia with 89 out of every 100 women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer now surviving five or more years beyond diagnosis.

Sadly, not so for Chrissy. A mammogram and ultrasound initially failed to detect her breast cancer. So when Chrissy self-examined, found a lump and insisted her doctor do a biopsy that the cancer was discovered in 2010. As a consequence, she wanted her 1990 global hit, I Touch Myself (a song that was on high rotation on my playlist), to become an anthem for spreading awareness about the importance of self examining for early detection of the disease.

The I Touch Myself Project reminds women to be in touch with their bodies, and if something’s not right, to see their doctor.  For the launch of the charity in 2104, Cancer Council NSW commissioned a cast of home-grown stars, including breast cancer survivor Olivia Newton-John, ARIA female artist of the year winners Sarah Blasko and Megan Washington, Baby Animals singer Suze DeMarchi, and Amphlett’s cousin Little Pattie, to re-work Chrissy’s global hit single (see video below) as a homage to her legacy.

“She would have wanted us to be more in touch with ourselves and to listen to what’s going on inside physically, and to be more in charge of our destiny and not wait for doctors or advisers to be in charge of us,” Amphlett’s widower Charley Drayton said at the time.

What Every Woman Needs, bras, 2016 I Tough Myself Project, Berlei bras

Aussie musicians in the new campaign — country music star and breast cancer survivor Catherine Britt, Sydney indie pop band Little May, and Katy Steele from four-piece rock band Little Birdy — wear the new Chrissy Bra. Picture: Tony Mott.

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The Chrissy T-shirt bra (left) and the Chrissy Post-Surgery bra

The 2016 I Touch Myself Project campaign, which was shot by rock photographer Tony Mott, features Australian musicians posing in the new bras (above and behind the scenes below) — a limited edition black Chrissy T-Shirt bra for everyday wear and the underwire-free Chrissy Post-Surgery bra for women who have had a mastectomy. The post-surgery bra revolutionises the post-care bra with a sexy rock’n’roll design that is both fashionable and functional, has stretch cotton inner pockets to accommodate prosthesis, seam-free cups to minimise rubbing and soft, fully adjustable shoulder straps for the ultimate in comfort and support.

The Chrissy Bra is only available at Berlei.com.au. All profits from the Chrissy Bra range go to Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA).

HOW TO BE BREAST AWARE

Detecting breast cancer early is the best chance of survival, so it’s important to see your doctor without delay if you notice any changes. What to look (and feel) for:

  • a new lump or lumpiness, especially if it’s only in one breast
  • a change in the size or shape of your breast
  • a change to the nipple, such as crusting, ulcer, redness or inversion
  • a nipple discharge that occurs without squeezing
  • a change in the skin or your breast such as redness or dimpling
  • an unusual pain that doesn’t go away

So please take the time to “touch yourself” and share this important information with your family, friends and colleagues.

You can also help keep Chrissy’s dream alive by spreading her message. Visit itouchmyself.org and help support the #itouchmyselfproject

For more information, to donate or show your support for breast cancer, go to Cancer Australia, Think Pink Foundation, Pink Ribbon Day.

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