Breast Awareness

Find out about getting to know your breasts, and how to look for changes to your breast.

Every persons breasts are different. 

Your breasts can feel different throughout your menstrual cycle. They might feel lumpier just before or during your period. 

It is important to get to know your own breasts. This helps you to see any changes in the colour, size or shape of your breast. 

Finding breast cancer early makes it easier to treat. It is important to know your own breasts whether you are enrolled in the UK breast screening programme or not. 

What being breast aware means

Being breast aware means that you:
  • know what is normal for you
  • look at and feel your breasts
  • know what changes to look for
  • see your doctor about any unusual changes

There's no right or wrong way to do it - look at them and feel them however works best for you.

Breast changes to look out for

  • change in size or shape of your breast
  • a lump anywhere in your breast or arm pit
  • thickening or dimpling of your skin
  • discharge or bleeding from the nipple
  • change in position of your nipple
  • pain in your breast that doesn't go away

Breast screening

In the UK every woman between the ages of 50 and 70 is invited for a mammogram every 3 years as part of the UK NHS breast cancer screening programme. In England, the screening programme is currently extending the age range for breast screening from 47 to 73. Women older than 70 can ask to carry on having screening every 3 years.

Breast screening aims to find cancers at an early stage when they are too small for you to see or feel. Finding it early means there is a very good chance of successful treatment. 

Even with the breast screening programme, many breast tumours are first spotted by women themselves. This may be because the woman is too young to have started screening. Or it may be because she stopped having screening when she reached the age of 70. Or it could be that a breast cancer starts to cause symptoms between mammograms.

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