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Breast Cancer Guide: Know What To Look For

Breast cancer awareness means getting to know how your breasts look and feel normally so that you notice any change that might be unusual. Detecting a change early means that if cancer is diagnosed, any treatment may be more successful.

What to look for - Visual inspection

Examine the apperance of your breasts to look for any changes in the shape and outline of your breasts.

While standing infront of a mirror, inspect your breasts in four different positions:

  • Arms overhead
  • Arms at your sides
  • Hands at your hips
  • Whilst bending forward
Look for any changes such as nipple dischage, bleeding, red/sore areas and any changes in shape/skin texture.
What to inspect breast cancer awareness

The breast awareness 5-point code

Spotting Breast Cancer Early

Cancer Research UK has put together a video outlining breast awareness and how to inspect your breasts:

What to look for - Manual inspection

After looking for any changes, feel your breasts and armpits for any lumps, bumps, thickening or pluckering. You can do this by lying on your back, on your side or standing up.

A week after your menstrual period is the ideal time to examine your breast. If you do not mensturate try to examine your breasts on the same day every month.

  • Using three fingers of the hand opposite to your breast apply small circular movements by pressing down on your breast with light, medium and firm pressure (see below). Ensure your fingers are closed together.
  • Gently squeeze your nipple to detect any dischage.

  • Repeat the steps to check the other breast.
Using three fingers inspect your breasts for any changes.

If you encounter any changes

If you encounter any changes please see your doctor immediately, particuarly if you notice any unusual pain or discomfort in your breast.

Your breasts can change for many reasons, some of which are harmless, but these should be investigated in the small chance that it could be cancer.

Regular breast awareness and self-examination is not a substitute for check-ups from your doctor or for screening mammograms.

For more information contact your doctor and see our related links below.

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