How to be breast aware

There's no set way to check your breasts, but you must be breast aware. Here's what to look and feel for...

According to Breast Cancer Care, it’s not the way you check your breasts that’s crucial to detecting breast cancer, but how aware you are of what they usually look or feel like, and any changes that occur.

It’s important to get up close and personal with your boobs, and to familiarise yourself with the way they are normally. This way, you can detect any changes quickly and efficiently.

Follow the breast awareness five-point code:

1 Know what is normal for you.

2 Know what changes to look and feel for.

3 Look and feel.

4 Report any changes to your GP without delay.

5 Attend routine breast screening if you are aged 50 or over.

But what exactly should you be looking for?

Size – if one breast becomes larger, or lower

Nipples – if a nipple becomes inverted (pulled in) or changes position or shape

Rashes – on or around the nipple

Discharge – from one or both nipples

Skin changes – puckering or dimpling

Swelling – under the armpit or around the collarbone (where the lymph nodes are)

Pain – continuous, in one part of the breast or armpit

Lump or thickening – different to the rest of the breast tissue.

 
Liz Carroll, Head of Clinical Services at Breast Cancer Care, says: ‘There’s no set way for you to check your breasts, although using your fingertips in a circular motion is probably the easiest. But don’t forget that you are looking for any changes, not just lumps. You should check your breasts on a regular basis; perhaps every so often when you’re in the shower.’

If you find any changes in the ‘normal’ state of your breasts, visit your GP as soon as you can.

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