Checking yourself for breast cancer

We all know we should check our breasts for lumps and bumps, but what are the signs of breast cancer anyway? And how do you check your boobs properly? We show you how.

Girl checking breast

Cheer up love, it's just an armpit.

What are the signs of breast cancer?

Warning signs include:

  • A change in the shape or size of the nipple or breast, one breast may become noticeably larger or lower.
  • Any changes to the position or colouring of the nipple.
  • Discharge from one or both nipples.
  • A rash around the nipple.
  • Dimpling, denting, scaling or discolouration of the skin.
  • A lump or swelling in the breast, armpit or arm.
  • A pain in the breast or armpit that is new for you.
  • A distinct lump, like a pea, or thickening in the breast that feels different from the rest of the breast.

How to check for breast cancer

As the breast tissue can vary at different times of the month, it is important to check your breasts at the same time. The best time to do your check is one week after the end of your period.

  • Stand in front of the mirror with your hands at your sides and check your breasts to see if they look any different. Repeat with your hands on your hips, pressing the shoulders and armpits forward.
  • Then clasp your hands behind your head and turn from side to side to check that both nipples move up and down at the same time.
  • While in the bath or shower, raise your left arm and feel your left breast with the flat of your right hand. Starting from the outer top, press firmly enough to feel the tissue underneath and move in a circular motion. When you have completed a circle, move inwards slightly and repeat circling. Continue this until you have checked the entire breast including the nipple. Also check the area above the breast, especially the armpit. Repeat on the other side.
  • Lie with a pillow under your left shoulder and repeat the check. Don’t freak out if you do find anything, just get it checked out with a doctor. There’s absolutely no need to be embarrassed or ashamed.They’ve seen it all before. It’s their job.

Photo of girl checking breast by shutterstock

Next Steps

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boobs| cancer


Updated on 29-Sep-2015