Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK and it's caused by a combination of lots of different factors, many of which are beyond our control. Increased knowledge and understanding is key for early detection, which is why it is important to know how to check your breasts.
How do I check my breasts?
There’s no right or wrong way to check your breasts for any changes. Try to get used to looking at and feeling your breasts regularly. You can do this in the bath or shower, when you use body lotion, or when you get dressed. There’s really no need to change your everyday routine. Just decide what you are comfortable with and what suits you best.
Remember to check all parts of your breast, your armpits and up to your collarbone.
Everyone’s breasts look and feel different.Some people have lumpy breasts, or one breast larger than the other, or breasts that are different shapes. Some have one or both nipples pulled in (inverted), which can be there from birth or happen when the breasts are developing. This is why it's important when you checking your breasts to be aware of any changes that are different for you.
Signs and symptoms to look out for
There are many signs to look out for when checking your breasts.
- a change in size or shape of the breast
- a lump or thickening that feels different from the rest of the breast tissue
- redness or a rash on the skin and/or around the nipple
- a change in skin texture such as puckering or dimpling (like orange peel)
- discharge (liquid) that comes from the nipple without squeezing
- your nipple becoming inverted (pulled in) or changing its position or shape
- a swelling in your armpit or around your collarbone
- constant pain in your breast or your armpit
What to do if you find a change
Most breast changes are likely to be normal, or due to a benign (not cancer) breast condition, rather than being a sign of breast cancer. If you notice a change, go and see your GP as soon as you can. Your GP will then examine your breasts and they may feel that there is no need for further investigation, or they may refer you to a breast clinic.