The NHS has partnered with Morrisons to put cancer advice inside underwear, warning people to contact their GP if they spot potential symptoms.
The supermarket chain’s Nutmeg branded underwear featuring the advice will be available in 240 stores across the country, with men’s boxer shorts releasing first and crop top bras on sale in the coming months.
The guidance from the NHS will be displayed alongside size and washing information on the underwear’s fabric label. A QR code on the packaging and tags will also link customers through to more detailed breast and testicular cancer information.
NHS England national director for cancer Dame Cally Palmer said this was the first time the whole of the NHS has worked with a supermarket brand to put health messaging on clothing.
The ambition, Dame Cally added, is ‘encouraging thousands more people to be body aware, so they can spot new or unexplained changes that might be cancer symptoms early, and contact their GP practice for checks if concerned’.
Symptoms of testicular cancer can include painless swelling or a lump in one of the testicles or any change in shape or texture of the testicles. Symptoms of breast cancer meanwhile can include a lump or change in the look, shape or feel of one or both breasts.
Dame Cally noted that cancer survival rates are at an all time high and the chances of survival are severely diminished if the cancer is discovered at a later stage.
National figures show that 91% of women survive breast cancer for at least five years if diagnosed at stage one when the cancer is small, while this reduces to 39% of women when the cancer has reached stage 4.
Likewise, while nearly all men survive testicular cancer, survival for five years or more can reduce to 65% if the cancer has spread.
Recent NHS data shows that a higher proportion of cancers were diagnosed at an early stage in 2022-23 compared to before the pandemic.
The 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.’