Breast cancer can have a number of symptoms, but usually shows as a lump or thickening in the breast tissue (although most breast lumps are not cancerous). If cancer is detected at an early stage, it can be treated before it spreads to nearby parts of the body.
The earlier breast cancer is found, the better the chance of beating it. So looking out for any changes to your breasts and getting these checked by your GP is very important.
Most importantly, we advise that you get to know your own breasts. If you know how your breasts usually look and feel, it will be easier to spot any unusual changes. Breasts can change at different times of the month, so it’s important to work out what’s normal for you and if you have any concerns speak to your GP.
Check your breasts regularly and don’t forget to look at yourself in the mirror, which will help you be breast aware.
What to look out for
Breast cancer can have a number of symptoms, but for many women it will appear as a lump or thickening in the breast tissue. This may be in the breast itself, upper chest or armpit.
You might find it easier to check yourself for lumps in the shower or bath and this will help ensure it’s something you do on a regular basis. Raise your arm above your head to stretch the breast tissue and using the palm of your hand feel around the breast, not forgetting your collar bone, and under your arm.
Check whether you can see any of the following:
If you notice a change in your breasts
If you find or feel a lump or notice any other change to your breasts, it’s important to get checked by your GP as soon as possible. Book an emergency appointment with your doctor, who may refer you to a breast clinic where you will be seen within two weeks.
Many symptoms of breast cancer, including breast lumps, are non cancerous and caused by normal breast changes. But it remains vital that you pay attention to your body and seek help if you notice anything that isn’t normal for you.