Check your breasts!
Women need to know their breasts, how they feel and look to be able to notice anything that is abnormal or different the next time you check. By touching your breasts regularily you will know your breasts better then before and be more aware on anything that changes.
Breast screening doesn’t happen in Britain until you are 50, yet young women can and do get breast cancer, which is why you should be keeping an eye on your chest at all times.
Breasts change throughout out lifetime, they change size due to weight gain/ loss, hormones or pregnancy, the nipple changes due to age or breastfeeding and one breast is often larger than the other. If you have larger breasts it can feel daunting to know what to even look for, as you may think it is harder to spot anything abnormal, yet if you regularly feel your breasts and know how to do it you will be less likely to miss something again.
1/ Look at yourself in the mirror
Stand infront of the mirror face on with your hands on your hips. Look at your breasts. Are they their normal size, shape and colour, check for no visible swelling or distortion. If you see any of the following changes go and see your GP:
- Dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin
- A nipple that has changed position or an inverted nipple (pushed inward instead of sticking out)
- Redness, soreness, rash, or swelling
Then lift your arms in the air and look again for any changes and if any fluid comes out of your nipples
2/ Lie down
Next lay yourself down on the floor or the bed. Place one arm behind your head and using the other hand check the opposite breast (left hand checking the right breast, right hand to check the left breast). Keeping your fingers flat together press down onto your breast and make small circular movements, start from the top of your breast and work your way around, as if it was a clock to make sure you do every section of your breast.
3/ Stand up
Finally check your breasts while you are standing up or sitting down, many women prefer doing it in the shower whilst their skin is wet. Lift your left arm up in the air and using your right hand check your left breasts using the same method as when you were lying down. Make sure you check every section of your breast before swapping over to do the other side.
If you notice or feel any of the following changes, the NHS guidelines recommend that you make an appointment with your GP:
- a change in the size, outline or shape of your breast
- a change in the look or feel of your skin, such as puckering or dimpling
- a new lump, thickening or bumpy area in one breast or armpit that is different from the same area on the other side
- nipple discharge that’s not milky
- bleeding from your nipple
- a moist, red area on your nipple that doesn’t heal easily
- any change in nipple position, such as your nipple being pulled in or pointing differently
- a rash on or around your nipple
- any discomfort or pain in one breast, particularly if it’s a new pain and doesn’t go away (although pain is only a symptom of breast cancer in rare cases)
source: Wikimedia commons and nhs