the guide to being breast aware

Women’s health: How well do you know your breasts?

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Women’s health: How well do you know your breasts?

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in the world. It affects one in every eight women. The earlier it's diagnosed, the easier it is to treat.

It’s good to be breast aware.

Step 1: Get to know your breasts

Before you can spot anything out of the ordinary, you’ll need to know what you’re looking for. There’s no right or wrong way to check your breasts. You don’t need to check your breasts regularly at a set time or a specific way. Just knowing what’s normal for you is the most important point.

Step 2: Know what you’re looking for

When it comes to being breast aware, there are a few things you need to look out for:

  • a change in the size, outline or shape of your breast
  • a change in the look or feel of the skin on your breast, such as puckering or dimpling, a rash or redness
  • a new lump, swelling, thickening or bumpy area in one breast or armpit that was not there before
  • a discharge of fluid from either of your nipples
  • any change in nipple position, such as your nipple being pulled in or pointing differently
  • a rash (like eczema), crusting, scaly or itchy skin or redness on or around your nipple
  • any discomfort or pain in one breast, particularly if it's a new pain and does not go away (although pain is only a symptom of breast cancer in rare cases)

Step 3: Look and feel

Look at your breasts and feel each breast and armpit, and up to your collarbone. You may find it easiest to do this in the shower or bath, by running a soapy hand over each breast and up under each armpit.

You can also look at your breasts in the mirror. Look with your arms by your side and also with them raised.

I found a lump, what now?

Don't panic. Breast changes can happen for many reasons, and most of them are not serious. Lots of women have breast lumps, and most breast lumps are not cancerous.

However, if you find changes in your breast that are not normal for you, it's best to see a GP as soon as possible. Your GP may request to examine your breasts and offer to refer you for further tests.

Our GPs are here for you

If you’re concerned about a lump, other breast symptoms or need more advice on being breast aware, our GPs can help. Speak to them for expert advice, specialist referrals if required and prescriptions sent straight to your door.

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