Everyone’s breasts are different, and your breasts can change with age and at different times of the month. It’s important to get to know how your breasts normally look and feel so it will be easier to spot if there are any unusual changes for you. 

If you do spot any unusual changes to your breasts you should get them checked out by your doctor.

Finding out about breast cancer signs and symptoms can help you understand what breast changes to look out for.

Lumps are vital to look out for, and for many women the first sign or symptom of breast cancer is a lump in their breast. But many women have breast lumps and most of them are benign (not cancerous), and there are other important signs and symptoms too.

Changes to check for

Signs and symptoms of breast cancer - breast lump, discharge, rash

It’s as simple as TLC

TOUCH your breasts. Can you feel anything unusual?
LOOK for changes. Is there any change in shape or texture?
CHECK anything unusual with your doctor.

Touch

  • Can you feel a lump? Either in the breast, upper chest or armpits.
  • Is there a lumpy area? Or unusual thickening of the breast tissue that doesn’t go away?
  • Is there any unusual pain? Either in part of the breast or the armpit.

Look

  • Any change in size or shape? For example, one breast might become larger or lower than the other.
  • Any change in skin texture? Such as puckering or dimpling of the skin of the breast.
  • Any change in colour? For example the breast may look red or inflamed.
  • What about the appearance or direction of the nipple? For example, one might become inverted (turned in) when it normally points out.
  • Any unusual discharge? One or both nipples might have a discharge.
  • Any rash or crusting? Of the nipple or surrounding area.

Check

  • Is anything unusual? If so, get it checked out by your doctor as soon as possible.

Find out about the signs and symptoms of breast cancer in men.

Love your breasts - be breast aware

Most cases of breast cancer are found by women noticing unusual changes and visiting their doctor to get them checked. The earlier breast cancer is found, the better the chance of beating it – so it’s important to be breast aware.

Being breast aware simply means knowing what your breasts look and feel like normally, being on the lookout for any unusual changes and getting them checked out by your doctor.

No one knows your body better than you and everyone will have their own way of touching and looking for changes – there’s no special technique and you don’t need any training.

It’s good to get into the habit of doing this regularly – maybe when you’re in the bath or shower, or while getting dressed in the morning.

More information

You’ll find further details on how to be breast aware in our Touch Look Check leaflet and mini guide, which you can download below.

Breast awareness leaflet

Touch Look Check mini guide

Watch our video to find out how some women stay breast aware and check for the signs and symptoms of breast cancer

Information Standard logoInformation last reviewed: November 2014