Morrisons and the NHS are working together to put advice on underwear labels urging people to contact their GP practice if they spot potential symptoms of breast or testicular cancer.
The Nutmeg branded underwear featuring NHS advice will be in 240 Morrisons stores nationwide, initially in boxer shorts and followed by crop top bras in the coming months.
The NHS guidance will be displayed on the fabric labels alongside the standard sizing and care information. There will also be a QR code on the packaging and tags linking customers through to more detailed information on breast and testicular cancer on the NHS website.
Morrisons is the first UK supermarket to roll-out the new labels and the first-of-its-kind partnership for the NHS is the latest move in a significant drive to ensure people are aware of the signs and symptoms of cancer.
If people notice symptoms that could be cancer, they should contact their GP and come forward for checks as early as possible so they can get the all-clear, or in some cases, a cancer diagnosis sooner to give them the best chance of surviving the disease.
Symptoms of breast cancer can include a lump or change in the look, shape or feel of one or both breasts, while 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.
National figures show that 91% of women survive for at least five years if diagnosed at an early stage of breast cancer, where the tumour is small (stage one), whereas this reduces to 39% where the cancer has spread to other parts of the body (stage four).
While nearly all men survive testicular cancer, if the cancer has spread, survival for five years or more can reduce to 65%.
NHS England’s National Director for Cancer, Dame Cally Palmer, said: “This is the first time the whole of the NHS has worked with a national supermarket brand to put health messaging on clothing, with the aim of 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.
“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 – and 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.”
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.”
The launch of the Nutmeg range is being modelled and supported by Natalie Robinson, who recently underwent surgery for breast cancer and Edward Solly who received treatment for testicular cancer.
Natalie Robinson, 35, from Essex, said: “As someone who is going through cancer, 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 labels carry such a vital message and I want to help encourage as many people as possible to contact their GP practice if they see any unusual changes to their breasts, it could save their life!”
Edward Solly, 35, from Kent, said: “What a brilliant initiative by NHS and Morrisons – so simple, yet effective. 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.”
Morrisons have also made a £10,000 donation to NHS Charities Together and have committed to transferring more than £2 million from its apprenticeship levy to Yorkshire Ambulance Service to help train around 200 paramedics in the region.
More people than ever before are being seen and treated by the NHS for cancer – in the last year the number of people receiving lifesaving checks for cancer hit nearly three million (2.92m) – more than any other year on record.
Thanks to extensive NHS campaigns and early diagnosis initiatives, a higher proportion of cancers than ever before were diagnosed at an early stage in the year 2022-2023 – 58% of cancers diagnosed at stage one or two compared to 56% before the pandemic.
The NHS is harnessing the very latest technology and initiatives such as community lung health checks and trials of a blood test that can detect up to 50 cancers before symptoms appear, to diagnose cancer earlier and achieve its goal of diagnosing three quarters of all cancers at stage one or two by 2028.
The NHS is also accelerating the use of innovations like teledermatology for diagnosing skin cancer, which is already seeing some areas double the number of patients seen and speeding up diagnosis and treatment for tens of thousands with skin cancer.
To find your nearest Nutmeg concession please visit, https://my.morrisons.com/storefinder/.
For more information about how NHS England works with partners on national campaigns visit england.nhs.uk/campaign-partnerships