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

a lump on or around the breast - may not be seen, but might be felt

Lump - may not be seen, but might be felt.

Can you feel a lump?
Either in the breast, upper chest or armpit? 

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?

skin texture e.g. dimpling or puckering of the breast

Skin texture 
e.g. dimpling or puckering

Any change in size or shape?
For example, one breast might become larger or lower than the other. 

Any change in colour?
E.g. the breast may look red or inflamed.

Any change in skin texture?

Such as puckering or dimpling of the skin of the breast.  

Appearance or direction of nipple on the breast


Appearance or direction of the nipple

What about the appearance or the direction of the nipple?
E.g. one might become inverted (turned in) when it normally points out.


nipple discharge from the breast


Nipple discharge

Any unusual discharge?
One or both nipples might have a discharge.


rash or crusting on or around the breast 

Rash or crusting

Any rash or crusting of the nipple or surrounding area.



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.

Download our app - Breast Check Now

It doesn't matter when you check your breasts, as long as you check them regularly. Download our free Breast Check Now app for Android and iPhone, and make checking part of your routine.

Find out more about the app

Download the app

Download the app

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.

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

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

You can also visit our publications page to order print copies of the Touch, look, check leaflet.

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


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Information last reviewed: November 2014
Information last updated: April 2016

Breast Cancer Now's health information is covered by NHS England's Information Standard quality mark. Find out more.