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Breast cancer signs and symptoms

Whatever your age, size or shape it’s important to take care of your breasts. Many women experience a number of changes in their breasts during their monthly cycle and it is important that you learn to notice normal changes throughout the month so that you feel more confident about noticing any changes and abnormalities.

By making your self-check-up part of your normal routine, you’ll catch any changes quickly. We recommend checking your boobs monthly, but work out what’s best for you, and you’re more likely to stick to it!

How to examine your breasts

Feel each breast and the area around your breasts, your armpits and up to your collarbone. Some people find it easiest to do this in the shower with soapy hands.

Look at them in the mirror both standing with your arms by your side and also with them raised.

Know how to check your breasts for the signs and symptoms of breast cancer

Keep an eye out for breast cancer signs and symptoms:

  • Changes to the size, outline or shape
  • Changes to the look or feel of your skin such as bumps, dimples, orange peel, skin sores or growing veins
  • A new lump, thickening or bumpy area in the breast or armpit
  • Unexpected fluid or bleeding
  • Crusty or sunken nipples or a change in nipple position
  • Discomfort or pain in one breast
  • An unexplained rash or feelings of heat
  • Don’t forget that men get breast cancer too!

If you notice anything unusual or have any concerns about any of the symptoms above, we would advise you to see your doctor and seek medical advice.

If you’re worried about breast cancer call our free Support Line on 0808 808 1010.

Reducing your risk

Physical activity and weight gain

There is increasing evidence to suggest that regular physical activity reduces the risk of breast cancer. Ideally physical activity will be performed over a lifetime, but some studies suggest that even if physical activity begins after the menopause, it can still help reduce the risk of developing cancer. You should:

Stay healthy and active

  • Engage in moderate exercise for at least 30-60 minutes every day.
  • If you’d like ideas of how to keep active, check out our challenge events. Having a goal will keep you motivated and encouraging your friends to sign up too will give you workout buddies.

Nutrition

While studies have not linked specific diets to breast cancer risk, nutrition is still important:

  • Eat a well-balanced diet (daily intake of fat should not exceed 30%)
  • Include fresh fruit and vegetables in your daily food choices
  • Eat the right amount to maintain a healthy weight
  • Limit red meat consumption
  • Limit alcohol consumption. The UK Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) advise it is safest not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis.

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

There is a very clear connection between hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and the risk of developing breast cancer.

For women who do not have a history of breast cancer, it is advisable to discuss the risks and benefits of taking HRT with your doctor in order to make an informed decision as to whether HRT is right for you.

HRT is generally not recommended if you have a history of breast cancer as HRT may increase your risk of recurrence of breast cancer. Any decision to take HRT should, therefore, be discussed in detail with your physician.

Get in touch

To find out more about our services, or speak to one of our nurses, please call our free Support Line which is open 365 days a year on 0808 808 1010.

Support your Sisters for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Go Pink this October

With one in seven women in the UK being diagnosed, it’s likely we’ll all know someone affected by breast cancer in our lifetime. This October we’re calling on YOU to rally your pink platoon, your band of sisters and your tough mothers.

Support your sisters
Hold a Pink Golf Day or bake sale

Fundraising ideas

There are loads of ways to get your tribe together and get involved in Go Pink fundraising. The list is endless, but here are a few ideas to get you started! Basically; Go PINK anyway you can! Anyway you like!

Get some pinkspiration
Meet Lillian who had her cancer treatment on board our Units

Meet people we’ve helped

Every year we support thousands of people with breast cancer through our range support services. As well as answering questions, we can help with the financial, practical and emotional impact of breast cancer. Here’s just a few of the women, and men we’ve helped.

Read real stories