When you think of breast cancer, you may think of a lump, but that’s not always the first or only symptom you might discover. The symptoms do vary between different people and some do not have any symptoms at all. Getting to know all of the symptoms and changes to be aware of, will help you to quickly detect if anything is or feels unusual.
As a general rule, you should examine your breasts once a month. For women, preferably immediately after the end of your period. For women who do not have periods and for men, check yourself on the same day each month. If you have any doubts, please consult your doctor.
- Anylump or swelling in the breast, upper chest or armpit
- A change to the skin, such as puckering or dimpling
- A change in the colour of the breast – the breast may look red or inflamed
- A nipple that has become pulled in or changed its position or shape (retraction of the nipples is normal in some women)
- Rash or crusting around the nipple
- Unusual liquid (discharge) from either nipple
- Anyunusual change in the size or shape of one of your breasts
- Constant pain in one part of the
Have a question? Contact the nurses at Cancer Research UK by freephone 0808 800 4040 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
Step 1– Begin your breast self-exam while standing in front of a well-lit mirror with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips. Look at your breasts and compare them.
Then place your palms on your hips and press down firmly, flexing your chest muscles. Check again for any changes.
Step 2 – Raise your arms and look for the same changes. Do your breasts follow the movement?
Check yourself from the front and from the sides. Do you see retractions or bulges?
Step 3 – Gently squeeze the nipples between the thumb and index finger and look for any signs of fluid coming out of one or both nipples.
This could be a watery, milky, or yellow fluid or blood.
Step 4 – Feel your breasts while lying on your back.
Begin with a barehanded examination: Use your right hand to feel your left breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few finger pads of your hand, keeping the fingers flat andtogether. Use a circular motion. Examine every part of your breast and armpit, feeling for a lump or hardness.
By carrying out regular self-checks, you will get to know your breasts and understand what is normal for you…
so you can recognise any changes promptly and take action.
The Aware® Breast Self Exam is a breast pad that enhances your ability to detect changes in breast tissue during your breast self-exam.
When using the breast pad to aid your breast self-exam, the tactile sensitivity will be increased while your fingers glide smoothly across your breasts. The pad reduces friction between your fingers and your breasts and may provide for an easier and more comfortable exam.
Add these steps to your breast self examination:
Step 5 – Place the Aware® Pad over your left breast with your fingers flat. Press firmly on the Aware® Pad and slide over every part of your breast and armpit feeling for a lump or hardness. Use a circular motion. Be sure that youcover the whole breast. Then perform both the bare-handed and Aware® Pad exam on your right breast.
Step 6 – Finally, feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting. This exam repeats the procedure from step 4 and 5, so should be performed both with and without the Aware® Pad on the right and left breasts.
Any noticeable change during either the barehanded breast exam or using the Aware® Pad, should be reported to your doctor for proper evaluation.
Visit www.una-athome.co.uk to order your Aware® Breast Self Exam Pad for £23.99
The pad is reusable for up to 18 months and is FDA Cleared.