Be breast aware: how to check your breasts
How to check your breasts
- a change in size or shape – it may be that one breast has become larger
- changes in the nipple – in direction or shape, pulled in or flattened nipple
- changes on or around the nipple – rash, flaky or crusted skin
- changes in the skin – dimpling, puckering or redness
- 'orange peel’ appearance of the skin caused by unusually enlarged pores
- swelling in your armpit or around your collarbone
- a lump, any size, or thickening in your breast
- constant pain in one part of your breast or armpit
Techniques for checking your breasts
- Know what is normal for you
- Know what changes to look for
- Look and feel your breasts
- Discuss any changes with your GP without delay
- Attend for routine breast screening if you are aged between 50 and 64
Know what is normal for you
Questions to ask your GP if you have noticed a change in your breasts
- Why are you referring me for investigation?
- Can I be referred to a specialist breast clinic?
- How quickly will I be seen?
- Is my referral urgent or non-urgent?
- Which tests will I need (ultrasound, mammogram,biopsy) and why? Ask about Triple Assessment.
- Can you explain why you’ve decided not to refer me to a breast specialist?
- How can you be sure I don’t have breast cancer?
- What is the type and extent of the breast cancer?
- What’s my prognosis?
- What are my treatment options and how soon can they start?
- Should I continue taking HRT or the Pill?
- Are there any changes I should make to make to my lifestyle (diet, exercise, smoking)?
- Will I be able to carry on working?
- Are my female relatives at a higher than average breast cancer risk?
- Can I have tests to find out if the cancer has spread to other parts of my body?
- Are there any clinical trials that I might be able to participate in
- What services does this hospital provide to help me through this?
- Who can I telephone later if I’m worried about diagnosis and treatment?