PUBLISHED ON: 31 January 2017

It’s International Women’s Day just over a month away, on 8 March. The day can be an excellent chance to spread information about how to check your breasts regularly for signs and symptoms of breast cancer. We’ve got free resources to help.

Breast awareness checklist

Checking your breasts regularly – breast awareness – is vital to all women because if you find a change in your breast that turns out to be cancer, the sooner it’s diagnosed the more effective the treatment is likely to be.

We know that lots of women don’t check their breasts regularly for signs and symptoms of breast cancer, often because they don’t know how to do it.

Checking your breasts is not difficult and if you get into the habit you might have cause to be grateful, as Orla Maguire was when she followed breast checking information from TV’s The Only Way is Essex team during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October 2016.

Remember, most breast changes won’t turn out to be breast cancer.

How do I check my breasts?

Everyone is different and our breasts change throughout our lives because of varying hormone levels in our bodies. So if you get into the habit of looking at and feeling your breasts as a regular part of your body care you’ll get to know what’s normal for you. Then you’ll be more confident about noticing any unusual changes and telling your GP (local doctor) about them.

There’s no right or wrong way to check your breasts and many people do it almost without thinking as part of their daily routine. This might be when you are in the bath or shower or when you use body lotion or when you get dressed. Do what suits you best.

Illustration showing how to check your breasts

 

If you spot any changes that are unusual for you, see your GP as soon as you can. You can ask to see a woman GP and take a friend or partner with you.

Don't worry about making a fuss and remember that most breast changes will not be breast cancer. Instead they will turn out to be normal or because of a benign (not cancer) breast condition.

Your GP may be able to reassure you after examining your breasts or might ask you to come back at a different time in your menstrual cycle if you’re still having periods. Otherwise you might be referred to a breast clinic for a more detailed examination and assessment.

Spreading the word

With our free resources, it’s easy to spread the word about breast awareness.

From our website, you can order as many – and as often – as you like of our free pocket-sized guides to breast awareness Taking care of your breasts. You can hand these out to family and friends, and leave them in community spaces (with permission, of course). The guides are also available in Arabic, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and Welsh.

Order free copies of Taking care of your breasts

PDF icon You can also download and print out the poster-style guide that appears above

And if you want to hand out resources at an International Women’s Day event, we may have breast awareness volunteers in your area who are trained to talk about how to be breast aware and can help out on the day. To find out, simply email volunteer.hub@breastcancercare.org.uk

Read more about International Women’s Day>>

We’re here to help you

If you have any breast health or breast cancer questions or concerns call us free on 0808 800 6000.