Guest blog by Prevent Breast Cancer chairman Lester Barr

With breast cancer affecting one in nine women in the UK, it’s safe to say that it receives its fair share of publicity and awareness – and rightly so. If you ask any woman what to look out for, she is highly likely to refer to checking for lumps – but there is much more to be aware of.

It’s essential that women of all ages, shapes and sizes know how to check their breasts properly and when to approach their GP with a concern.

As a charity that’s dedicated to protecting future generations from this disease, we’re passionate about encouraging women to fly the flag for awareness and help shield their own families from breast cancer by educating their children.

I set up Prevent Breast Cancer over 20 years ago after witnessing first-hand the devastation that breast cancer brought upon my patients and their families. I was determined to take a step towards creating a breast cancer-free future and, of course, self-checking plays a vital role in this.

Here are my tips to checking your breasts and knowing what to look out for:

  • Get used to looking at and feeling your breasts regularly – everyone’s different, so it’s important to know what’s normal for you and when something’s not quite right. In my view, women should begin checking their breasts from their late teens so that they familiarise themselves with what’s usual and anything out of the ordinary
  • The easiest way to check your breast is by running a soapy hand over each breast and up under each armpit while in the shower or bath.
  • Look for:
  • Change in size or shape of your breast
  • Change in the skin texture such as puckering or dimpling or lumps
  • Change in the nipple, for example if this has become pulled in
  • Blood-stained discharge from the nipple
  • Redness or rash on the skin and/or around the nipple

If you notice any of the above, it’s important to get it checked by your doctor as soon as possible. Many symptoms are caused by hormonal breast changes and can be nothing to worry about, but it’s vital to seek advice if you spot anything that’s not normal for you.

Read our advice on being breast aware and what the risk factors are: