Checking your breasts: are you cancer aware?

What to look out for

What am I looking for?

  • A change in size or shape of your breast
  • A new lump or thickening in a breast or armpit
  • Skin changes such as puckering, dimpling, or redness
  • Changes in the position of a nipple e.g. inversion of the nipple
  • Pain in your breast
  • Fluid leaking from a nipple (if you are not pregnant or breast-feeding)

Most people naturally have one breast bigger than the other but it is a change that you are looking for. Some women also have lumpier breasts around the time of their period. If this is normal for you, is the same on both sides and resolves after your period don't worry.

What do I do if I find a lump or a change in my breast?

See your doctor straight away. If you notice anything unusual about your breast, it is best to have it examined. Even though most breast lumps are benign (not cancer), they need to be checked.

When a woman sees a doctor because they have found a breast lump, in nine out of 10 cases, the lump is not cancerous, and the woman can be reassured.

For one in 10 however, the lump is cancerous. In these cases, the earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat. This is why being aware of our breasts, for both women and men is so important.


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