Two million people in the UK are living with cancer or the aftermath of it, and each year 50,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer – but a recent survey from Breast Cancer Care has shown that a third of women still do not regularly check their breasts for cancer, and a fifth of those who did check did not know how to do it properly.
70% of breast cancer cases are discovered by women themselves, noticing a change in their breasts, and this is why it is so important to be breast aware, to be confident about checking your breasts, know the symptoms of breast cancer, what to look for and when to seek help.
As breast cancer is the most common cancer in UK women, we’ve worked with Breast Cancer Care to put together 5 easy ways to check your breasts. Breast cancer may be scary, but the quicker it’s found, the more effective the treatments may be, so don’t delay in going to your GP if you find something unusual. Another person in the UK is diagnosed with breast cancer every 10 minutes, so get checking, ladies.
1. Be breast aware
If you aren’t already, be more breast aware. The survival rate is far higher for women who find breast cancer in the early stages, as it’s easier to treat. Know what’s normal for your breasts, like the way they look and feel.
Davinia Green from Breast Cancer Care says: ‘If you get to know what’s normal for you, it’s much easier to notice if something isn’t right and then it’s important to talk to your doctor.’
2. Know what changes to look for
Noticing breast cancer isn’t just about finding a lump, there are lots of other signs and symptoms that can indicate it.
Something as subtle as a change in skin tone on your breast can be an indication. Keep an eye out for any of the changes in the pictures above and below, then speak to your doctor if you’re worried.
Want more info on this step? Watch the video below for more detailed instructions
3. Another way to visualise the symptoms of breast cancer
In the past few days, I have received quite a few private messages about a “game” going around where you post a heart, then you are secretly supposed to state it is for breast cancer awareness. This…
This photo from the Know Your Lemons campaign, created by the Worldwide Breast Cancer group, aims to help women visualise the unknown symptoms of breast cancer by comparing breasts to lemons.
From retracted nipples to dimpling, and an invisible lump which can feel similar to a lemon pip, there are so many telltale signs that you definitely need to be looking out for. The campaign is designed to be shared amongst family and friends to raise awareness. Who knows, it could potentially save lives, so get sharing!
4. Look and feel
Look and feel your breasts regularly. The more often you do, the more familiar you will get with what feels normal for you, and the quicker you will notice any changes. Feeling your breasts doesn’t have to be embarrassing or time-consuming. Make it a part of your everyday routine, check them in the bath or shower, when you use body lotion, or when you get dressed.
5. See your GP
If you do notice anything unusual, see you GP straight away. Don’t delay or put off going because you are scared of what they may find – most changes in your breasts won’t turn out to be cancer – but if it is, then the quicker it is diagnosed, the better. You can always ask to see a female GP if you’d feel more comfortable.
6. Go for a breast screening when invited
Breast screening can spot cancers when they are too small to be felt or noticed, and are currently offered to women aged 50 – 70. If you’re invited to be screened, don’t put it off. There’s no need to be embarrassed, as all screening staff are women, and spotting something unusual early really could save your life.