A third of women don’t check their breasts regularly for signs and symptoms of breast cancer, a poll has suggested. Women say this is because they don’t know how to do it or because they are scared of finding something.

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

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

How do I check my breasts?

Try to get to know how your breasts look and feel so you know what’s normal for you. Do this as a regular part of your body care so that you’ll be more confident about noticing any unusual changes and seeing your GP (local doctor).

Look at and feel your breasts regularly. There’s no right or wrong way to do it and no need to alter your body care routine. For instance, you can check your breasts and the area around them while you’re in the bath or shower, when you use body lotion or when you get dressed. Do what suits you best.

Check all parts of your breast your armpits and up to your collarbone.

Remember that everyone is different and our breasts change throughout our lives because of varying hormone levels in our bodies.

Changes to look and feel for: not just a lump

This video tells you more about the signs and symptoms of breast cancer. 

What to do next

If you spot any changes that are unusual for you, see your GP as soon as you can. Don't worry about making a fuss and remember that most breast changes 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.

Here to help you

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