Checking your breasts is important because although survival rates for breast cancer are improving the number of people being diagnosed is going up – nearly 55000 people in the UK every year with around 350 cases in men. And if you do 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.
That’s why we’ve updated our free information to help people of all ages look after their breasts. Your breasts your health – throughout your life and our pocket-sized mini-guide Taking care of your breasts both include the new Breast Cancer Care checklist which aims to get across three simple but important messages:
- Know what’s normal for you.
- Keep checking for changes.
- Report anything unusual to your doctor as soon as possible.
Both booklets give details of the signs and symptoms to look out for. These are also on a new poster which you can download here.
At one time breast health guidance talked about exactly when and how you should examine your breasts. But there was no evidence that this was helpful and today the approach is much simpler. There’s no right or wrong way to do it.
Breast awareness means getting to know how your breasts look and feel so you know what’s normal for you.
Whatever your age or gender try to get used to looking at and feeling your breasts regularly as part of your usual body care routine.
For instance you can check your breasts (or chest area in men) while you’re in the bath or shower when you use body lotion or when you get dressed.
Do what’s comfortable for you and suits you best.
You should check all parts of your breast your armpits and up to your collarbone.
If you know what’s normal for you you’ll be more confident about noticing any unusual changes and seeing your GP as soon as you can.
Remember most changes won’t turn out to be breast cancer.
We're here to help you
If you have any breast health or breast cancer questions or concerns you can call the free confidential Helpline on 0808 800 6000. Your call will be answered by trained staff with personal or professional experience of breast cancer.