Breast Cancer is a growing concern amongst women. Because of its nature, however, the subject is not one that we easily discuss.
What are the symptoms?
- A lump or thickening in the breast or under the armpit
- A change in the position of the nipple
- Changes in the shape or size of the breast or nipple
- Discharge or bleeding from the nipple
- Nipple rash
- Pain in one of the breasts or armpit
- Puckering or dimpling of the breast skin
- Pulling in of the nipple
- Redness of the breast skin
Checking your breasts regularly can be crucial to early diagnosis; when the chances of successful treatment are greatest.
Stay breast aware and follow these five easy steps:
- Know what is normal for you
- Look and feel your breasts (upper chest and armpits too)
- Know what changes to look for (see above)
- Report any changes without delay to your GP / Gynaecologist
- Make sure you attend breast screening if you’re 40 or over and if you are 50 or above you must get mammogram every year
In Front of a Mirror
Stand before a mirror and compare both breasts for differences in size, symmetry or the shape of the breast, changes in the skin such as swelling, redness or rash. The nipples need to be observed as well to see if there is any discharge or inversion. You would need to perform this examination in front of a mirror in three positions as shown in the images below:
In the shower
Some women discover breast lumps easier when their skin is moist. In the shower, feel your left breast using your right hand then feel your right breast using your left hand. Use a circular motion, to be sure that you cover the whole breast. Carefully observe any changes in your breasts and gently squeeze the nipple for any discharge.
Place a pillow under your right shoulder. Put your right hand under your head. Check the entire breast area using circular motions as shown in the image. Use light and firm pressures over each area of the breast. Repeat these steps on the left breast.
How can I lower my risk of breast cancer?
- Control your weight and exercise.
- Know your family history of breast cancer. If you have a mother, sister, or daughter with breast cancer, ask your doctor what is your risk of getting breast cancer and how you can lower your risk.
- Find out the risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy.
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink.