Breast Awareness & Screening
Breast Screening Self Examination
Breast cancer under the age of 30 is rare
Other high-risk groups include:
Those with a mother/sister/daughter who contracted breast cancer under the age of 40.
Women who delay having children until after the age of 35.
Women who started their periods at an early age (10 or 11)
Women whose periods stop at a later age (55 +)
Being “breast aware” means knowing how your breasts look and feel at different times of the month. If you know what is normal you will be able to spot any changes that occur.
Being “breast aware” is one of the most effective methods of detecting cancer. Women find nine out of ten breast cancers themselves.
Most lumps, in fact 90% of lumps found in breasts are benign (non-cancerous) and occur due to chemical or hormonal changes in the breast tissue. If you do find an abnormal lump it does not automatically mean that you have cancer. However, if cancer is present then early detection greatly improves the chances of successful treatment.
How to examine yourself
Being breast aware means getting in to the habit of feeling and looking at your breasts. Lots of women check their breasts in the bath or shower or in bed. The best time to check your breast is at the end of your period. With practice you can become quite an expert and as with all things it is a good idea to know your own body. Once you are familiar with what is normal in your breasts you will be able to detect any changes or abnormalities.
What should I look for?
Are there any unusual lumps or bumps?
Notice if either nipple has changed position, if it becomes pulled in or points differently to normal. Notice any unusual discharge, bleeding or skin rash, which persists.
Look for any dimpling or pitting of the skin, particularly when you raise your arms above your head.
Notice any veins, which stand out more than normal.
What should I feel for?
Check for any changes in the feel of the breasts.
Check for lumps, thickenings or bumpy areas that are new or different from the same part of the other breast.
Check for lumps in the armpit as well as the breast.
When feeling your breasts it is best to do so with the flat of the fingers in an organised way so that you do not miss any areas.
What if I find something different?
If you are suspicious about something you’ve found or notice a change in your breast then consult a doctor straight away.
The chances are that the problem will not be serious but if abnormalities do exist we want to find them at the earliest possible stage.
For any further information or to book in to see one of our GP’s call us on 020 7638 2999