That’s right, October is breast cancer awareness month – a dedicated month to raising awareness about the disease and promoting early detection, symptoms and treatment.
A high percentage of the women who are diagnosed with the disease are aged 50 and over but there is an excellent chance of recovery, especially if it is spotted in the early stages.
This is why it’s so important that we check our breasts regularly for any changes (at any age) and, if we spot anything different or unusual, ensure we see our GP.
Be aware of:
How do a self-check:
There’s no right or wrong way to check your breasts. But it’s important to know how your breasts usually look and feel. That way, you can spot any changes quickly and report them to a GP.
Every woman’s breasts are different in terms of size, shape and consistency. It’s also possible for one breast to be larger than the other.
Get used to how your breasts feel at different times of the month. This can change during your menstrual cycle. For example, some women have tender and lumpy breasts, especially near the armpit, around the time of their period.
After the menopause, normal breasts feel softer, less firm and not as lumpy.
The NHS Breast Screening Programme has produced a 5-point plan for being breast aware:
Look at your breasts and feel each breast and armpit, and up to your collarbone. You may find it easiest to do this in the shower or bath, by running a soapy hand over each breast and up under each armpit.
You can also look at your breasts in the mirror. Look with your arms by your side and also with them raised.
Breast changes can happen for many reasons, and most of them are not serious. Lots of women have breast lumps, and most breast lumps are not cancerous.
However, if you find changes in your breast that are not normal for you, it’s best to see a GP as soon as possible. This is because it’s important to rule out breast cancer. If cancer is detected, then appropriate treatment should be planned as quickly as possible.