Loughborough Alumni


14 Mar 2019

Alumni give full support to Lumps and Bumps campaign

Alumni have shared their stories demonstrating the importance of self-checking as the University prepares for its Lumps and Bumps campaign.

The initiative is taking place across campus on Wednesday 20 March in partnership with CoppaFeel and Ballboys. It aims to teach over 1,000 students, staff and members of the community how to check their ‘lumps and bumps’ for signs of breast and testicular cancer.

On average, one person is diagnosed with breast cancer every 10 minutes in the UK and almost 2,500 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer each year. However, despite the improved chances of recovery if detected early, many adults confess to not knowing how to check the symptoms of the life-threatening disease.

Alumni have given their support to the event, which hopes that by training male, female and non-binary attendees in both types of self-examinations, knowledge will be passed on to friends and family members of all genders, extending the reach of the day.

Neil Rutter, who graduated in 2007 with a BA in Fine Art, was diagnosed whilst in his first year at Loughborough, aged just 20. He noticed a pea-sized lump whilst checking in the shower, before undergoing an orchidectomy (removal of the affected testes).

However, after experiencing what he thought was a chest infection five months later, Neil collapsed during a training session at the University swimming pool and an x-ray revealed he had lung cancer. After three months and four rounds of chemotherapy, Neil was given the all clear, and in 2017 he won the UK Bog Snorkelling Championship.

Offering his advice, Neil said: “Twenty is far too young for cancer. I was fit, incredibly active, eating well. Cancer can affect anyone, at any time. It's massively important that we are body aware and responsible for our health.

“If I hadn't checked myself, I would not have caught it until physical symptoms started to present themselves. If tumours had spread sufficiently far through my body, perhaps I wouldn't have received such a good prognosis. Check your balls boys!”

Sarah Dixon, who graduated in 2007 with a BA in Graphic Communication, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017. She admits to having had “zero idea of breast cancer” before her diagnosis and has spoken of how word of mouth is crucial in combating the disease.

“It’s a brilliant event and if something like this was on when I was studying here 10 years ago, I’d have known a lot more about breast cancer.

“I would have been far more informed and if I’m informed, my best mate is informed, their mates are informed, their friends are, and that’s what we need to do. It’s word of mouth and the more people that know about self-checking the better.

“An event like this is hugely important as awareness really is paramount.”

Students, staff, community members and alumni will be able to learn or refresh knowledge on how to self-check their lumps and bumps at ‘pods’ across campus.

Alumnus and University Chancellor Lord Sebastian Coe KBE has called the campaign “crucial” in his advocacy of the initiative. He has been joined in promoting the event by fellow alumni Ross Edgley, who recently swam around the UK, Red Arrows pilot Jon Bond and Candy Kittens founder Ed Williams, as well as celebrities Maisie Williams and Jamie Laing.

The campaign’s dedicated webpage includes more information about the event, which is running from 8am-8pm.

Thank you to all our alumni for their involvement in the Lumps and Bumps campaign.




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