Being breast aware
Being breast aware means getting to know your breasts; how they look and what they normally feel like.
Breast cancers produce few warning signs and hardly ever cause pain. There may sometimes be a vague discomfort, but commonly the first thing people notice is an abnormal lump in their breast. Nevertheless, there are other possible signs, and everyone should know the ‘breast aware’ 5 point plan and look for the warning signs.
It is important that men, too, are ‘chest aware’ and check themselves regularly.
As part of our Bin Your Bra appeal, Dr Hilary demonstrated how (and when best) to perform a self examination and reiterated the need to follow the 5 point plan;
Remember the 5 point plan
1. A change in the outline, shape or size of the breast
2. A new isolated lump
3. Any difference between the ‘lumpiness’ in the two breasts found early in the menstrual cycle and still there at the end of the cycle
4. Skin dimpling that changes the appearance of the surface of the breast
5. In-drawing of the nipple, or alteration in its direction
Other things to look out for may include:
Discharge from the nipple for no apparent reason
Bleeding from the nipple
Distortion of the area around the nipple (areola)
An ‘orange-skin’ appearance of the breast skin (not the colour, but the little dimples)
Alteration in the position or ‘hang’ of the breast compared to the other breast
Rubbery, firm, easily felt lumps or glands (lymph nodes) in the armpit
Go to your GP if you notice anything unusual or are worried.
The following organisations offer advice and practical support for people concerned about or living with breast cancer;
NHS Choices – Information from the National Health Service on conditions, treatments, local services and healthy living.
The Breast Cancer Haven is a UK charity supporting the physical and emotional needs of anyone affected by breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Care – Patient support, helpline and prosthesis fitting service
Macmillan offer information, practical help and support for people living with cancer.