It’s important to be checking your boobs on a regular basis, but October marks Breast Cancer Awareness month so I’ve rounded up some of the facts and figures, and what you should be looking out for when it comes to your boobs.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, with one person diagnosed every 10 minutes. 1 in 8 women in the UK will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, and that means that this month around 5,000 people will be diagnosed with it.
The three main risk factors of breast cancer are:
- Being a woman – over 99% of new cases are found in women
- Getting older – over 80% of breast cancers occur in women over 50
- Significant family history – though this isn’t common, around 5% of people diagnosed with breast cancer have inherited a faulty gene
Did you know that men can also develop breast cancer? Whilst it’s significantly rare with only 390 new cases per year (compared to nearly 55,000 new cases in women per year), it’s still very important for men to check their pecs too.
A survey held by Breast Cancer Care found that a third of women are not regularly checking their breasts, and a fifth of women say that it’s because they don’t know how to check their breasts.
So, how should you check your girls? First of all you need to become familiar with what’s ‘normal’ for your boobs, and any changes they go through during the month as hormone levels change. Are they squishy or firm? How do your nipples usually look? The better you know your boobs, the easier it is to tell when something’s up.
You should be checking the entire chest area – including your armpits and up to your collarbones. It’s important to remember that you’re not just looking for any lumps, you should check for any changes with your breasts including size or shape, rashes or redness, even a change in skin texture can indicate something isn’t quite right. This handy infographic from Breast Cancer Care below outlines the things to look for:
It’s also worth checking when you’re standing, and when you’re lying down. As the breast tissue distributes itself differently, you may notice something that you otherwise could have missed.
So there you have it – I urge all of you to check your boobs whenever you can – at least once a month. Personally I take two minutes to check in the shower, and once I get into bed. And remember, if you’re not sure about something it’s always best to get it checked out by your doctor.