Checking your breasts on a regular basis can be daunting for some. However, it is a super important task that we should all be adding to our weekly, even daily, self-care routines! Regular checking means you can spot any changes quickly and report them to your GP.
Everyone's breasts are different in terms of size, shape and consistency. It is really important that you get used to how your own breasts feel at different times of the month, as they can start to feel different during your menstrual cycle. Another important note is that breasts start to feel softer, less firm and not as lumpy, after the menopause.
The NHS have created a 5-point Breast Screening Program for being breast aware:
Know what is normal for you
Look at your breasts and feel them
Know what changes to look for
Report any changes to a GP without delay
Attend Routine screening if you're aged 50 to 70
A Quick Self-Assessment Guide
During your daily shower is the perfect time to check your breasts for any unusual lumps.
In the mirror, get used to how your breasts look normally. First, with your arms by your side and then with your arms raised in the air.
In the shower, feel around the breast in a circular motion.
Then under your arm.
Finally, feel behind the nipple.
If you find something that wasn't there before, try not to worry, but do schedule a check up appointment with your local GP.
Breast Changes to look out for:
a change in size, outline or shape of your breast
a change in the look or feel of the skin on your breast, such as puckering, dimpling a rash or redness.
a new lump, swelling, thickening or bumpy area in one breast or armpit that was not there before
a discharge of fluid from either of your nipples
any change in nipple position, such as your nipple being pulled in or pointing differently
a rash, crusting, scaly, itchy skin or redness around your nipple
any discomfort or pain in one breast, particularly if its a new pain and does not go away
The Importance of Staying Healthy
Knowing your correct bra size and finding comfortably fitting bras for you is hugely important for your breast health.
Stay away from cigarettes, too much alcohol and fatty foods.
Eat nutritious foods and exercise regularly
Our guide to fitting your own bra: https://www.instagram.com/p/CjTZQtrDhTu/?hl=en
Breast changes can happen for many reasons, and many of them are not serious. Lots of breast lumps are not cancerous. However, if you do find changes in your breast that are not normal to you, it is best to see a GP as soon as possible.
Suggested Further Reading:
Information on breast cancer: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/breast-cancer/
More information on nipple discharge: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/nipple-discharge/
Information on breast screening: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/breast-screening-mammogram/