We all lead very busy lives but it’s essential we take the time to look after ourselves and our breast health. Prevent Breast Cancer want every woman, no matter their age, to #MakeTime to check their breasts and know what is normal for them.
At Prevent Breast Cancer, we recommend that you check your breasts once a month, ideally after your period, so that you can notice any changes as early as possible. Our Chair of our Scientific Advisory Board, Professor Cliona Kirwan, has taken the time to let us know when and how best to check yourself. Please feel free to share this video and our message: #MakeTime!
We want to encourage every person to maintain good breast health and awareness. So it’s imperative that you take time out of your busy schedule to check yourself regularly. This way you can be familiar with your breasts and spot any chance. Here is what we recommend:
WE ADVISE THAT YOU EXAMINE YOUR BREASTS ONCE A MONTH.
Ideally, just after you’ve had your period. This is when your breasts are at their most steady state.
Throughout your cycle your breasts do change. Just before your cycle the dense tissue that makes the milk becomes more swollen, making it normal for your breasts to feel lumpier before your period.
IT’S IMPORTANT TO LOOK IN THE MIRROR AND SEE WHAT YOUR BREASTS LOOK LIKE.
Start by looking straight ahead to check there are no dimples and no distortion in the skin. Next put your hands on your hips and push down to contract the muscles to make sure that this doesn’t cause any dimpling in the breasts. Lift your arms up above your head to find out whether the curves of your breasts look normal and your nipples look like they have always done and haven’t started to pull in.
NOW TO ACTUALLY EXAMINE YOUR BREASTS BY FEELING THEM.
The best places for this are in the shower or lying in bed – it only takes a moment!
If you’re in the shower, take the shower gel in your hand and lift up your left arm. With your right hand examine all over your breast using the pads of your fingers. Work around in a clock face, rolling the breast tissue over the ribs on the back wall of your chest and work your way around the whole breast. Do make sure you cover all areas. Spots commonly missed are right on the outside, in the space where your underwire sits, and also very high up on the collarbone and to the right (a bit of the ‘tail’ of the breast reaches up here as well).
When examining your breasts in bed, make sure you are lying flat on your back. Do exactly the same movements as above with your hand placed under a nightie or pyjamas to make sure your hand is directly touching your skin. Once again make sure to feel the whole breast with your arm up so it spreads the breast out more fully across your chest wall.
You could even take time to check at different times of the month to understand how your breasts change during your cycle. The better you know your breasts, the more easily you will be able to spot any changes!
Make sure to make an appointment with your GP if you spot any changes to your breasts. See the back of this leaflet for more symptoms to look out for.