Checking your breasts regularly can be vital to an early diagnosis of breast cancer

Checking your breasts regularly can be vital to an early diagnosis of breast cancer, which can significantly increase your chances of survival. Men can get breast cancer too (though it is rare with only 400 men diagnosed with the disease in the UK annually) so it is important for both sexes to be vigilant.

To stay breast aware follow these steps:

  1. Get to know your breasts and know what is normal for you by looking for changes.
  2. Feel your breasts for any changes (this includes the armpit and upper chest as there is breast tissue in these areas)
  3. Know what changes to look for (see signs and symptoms below)
  4. Do not hesitate to see your GP if you notice any changes
  5. Attend breast screening appointments if you are over the age of 50 (though some women may be called at 47 as part of a trial extension of the programme).

If you are over the age of 70 you may stop receiving screening invitations but you are still eligible and can arrange an appointment with your local screening unit.

Signs and symptoms to look for:

  • Lumping or thickening of the breast tissue
  • Constant pain of the breast or armpit
  • One breast becoming bigger in size compared to the other
  • Puckering or dimpling of the skin
  • Nipples changing size, position or becoming inverted (turned inside)
  • Nipples developing a rash, crusting or producing discharge (bodily fluid)
  • Swelling that appears under the armpit or around the collarbone