October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
An international health campaign backed by many major breast cancer charities which has the following aims:
Raising awareness of breast cancer and encouraging all women to regularly check their breasts for any possible warning signs – as earlier detection can often be more treatable with a more positive outcome.
Saving more lives by raising funds which go towards vital research into it’s the cause of breast cancers, preventative measures, less aggressive and innovative treatments and ultimately, finding a cure.
So it’s time to get know your pumpkins, jack lanterns, cauldrons… whatever you call them, you need to check them!
We are advocates of being breast aware and knowing the look and feel of your breasts, this makes it much easier to spot changes and pick up on warning signs.
Yes, you can still check breasts if you have had a boob job…
If you have breast implants, you can still go about your routine checks as normal. Remember when you go for a mammogram you just need to be sure to tell the nurse that you have implants, so they can adjust the positioning.
What should I be looking out for when I check my breasts?
We recommend that all women should thoroughly check your breasts every month regardless of whether you have had breast surgery. Here are the main things that you should regularly check for…
1. Changes in the size or shape of your breasts although many of us have different sized breasts, if this has always been the case then this is nothing to worry about.
What is important is to look out for any sudden changes to the size or shape for example, if one breast starts to droop unexpectedly and this can’t be attributed to other factors such as breastfeeding.
2. Changes in the look or feel of your skin such as skin sores, dimples or indentations on or around your breasts which seem to persist.
3. Any new, growing veins which are becoming increasingly pronounced on the skin on or above the breasts.
4. Changes in the nipple position for example if they appear to be sunken or turning inwards.
5. New lumps or bumps in your breasts or armpits of any shape or size that you haven’t noticed before and seem to persist regardless of your monthly menstrual cycle.
6. Unexpected fluid from your nipples such as discharge that isn’t related to breastfeeding, pregnancy or puberty.
7. Crusting around the nipple area isn’t necessarily a cause for great concern and could simply be a result of a skin condition, but if it doesn’t go away then it may be time to investigate it further.
Don’t panic, not all changes to your breasts are something to worry about, in fact, some changes can be attributed to breastfeeding, your monthly menstrual cycle and hormonal changes. According the NHS, 90% of lumps in the breasts aren’t cancerous, but it’s always best to have them checked by your doctor.
But if you have noticed something different about your breasts and you have concerns, particularly if the changes seem to persist or appear to have changed or developed, our best advice is not to ignore it and to seek medical advice from your GP.