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Know the Signs

Be Breast Aware

Be Breast Aware

No matter how frantic daily life can be, we need to have the confidence to be breast aware. Breast awareness is about knowing what is normal for your breasts, how they look and how they feel. 

Your breasts will vary in size and feeling throughout the month, by checking yourself regularly you will start to recognise these changes and increase the chances of recognising breast cancer at an early stage.

How to check yourself

How to check yourself

Self care isn't selfish. Allow yourself to have some time out in a place where you feel comfortable.

In the Shower

With the flats of your 3 middle fingers, slowly check the entire breast and armpit area, pressing down with light, medium, and firm pressure. Check both breasts, feeling for any new lumps, thickenings, hardened knots, or any other breast changes.

In Front of a Mirror

With your arms down by your sides, look at your breasts, looking out for any changes in the contour or shape of the breasts, any swelling, dimpling  or other skin changes on or around the breasts and don’t forget the nipples.  Once you have finished inspecting your breasts,  rest the palms of your hands on your hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles. As you do this look out for any dimpling, puckering, or other changes.

Lying Down

Find somewhere comfortable to lie down.  Place a pillow under your right shoulder and put your right arm behind your head. Using your left hand, move the pads of your 3 middle fingers around your right breast, covering the entire breast area and don’t forget the armpit.

Use pressure to feel for any new lumps, thickenings, hardened knots, or any other breast changes. Also squeeze the nipple gently to check for discharge. Repeat these steps for both breasts.

If you are concerned about any changes in your breasts please do not hesitate to consult your GP or local nurse practitioner.

Secondary Breast Cancer Signs and Symptoms

Secondary Breast cancer also known as Metastatic or Advanced Breast Cancer is breast cancer that has spread from the breast to other parts of the body.

Signs & Symptoms of Secondary Breast Cancer will vary in each patient and can include:

  • Headaches - ongoing headaches that are not relieved by pain medication.
  • Vision - Blurred vision, loss of balance or any feeling of weakness and numbness in your arms or legs.
  • Tiredness - Feeling more tiered than normal.
  • Breathing - Breathlessness and or a persistent dry cough.
  • Lumps- The discovery of lumps or swollen areas under your arm, in your breast and/ or your collarbone area.
  • Stomach - Swelling and an uncomfortable feeling in your stomach area.
  • Pain in bones - pain in your bones that is not not relieved by pain medication.  Bone pain may worsen in the evening.
  • Appetite - Losing your appetite and/or losing weight.

Feeling unsure or unsettled about this information, Breast Cancer Now has an invaluable helpline which is a great resource with incredibly friendly and knowledgeable people at the end of the line. You can call them on 0808 800 6000 on Monday - Friday, (9am-4pm) and Saturday, (9am-1pm).

Again, we can not stress this enough. If you are concerned about any potential signs or symptoms please do not hesitate to consult your GP or local nurse practitioner.