Be BreastAware - find out about the signs and symptoms of breast cancer

Breast Cancer Awareness Month, marked in countries across the world every October, helps to increase attention and support for the awareness, early detection and treatment of this disease

Spotting the signs of breast cancer

The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the better the chances of a successful outcome, which means that it is incredibly important to check your breasts on a regular basis. In doing so, you can ensure that you keep on top of any changes to the way in which they look and feel over time.

The size, shape and consistency of breasts differs enormously and also changes throughout our lives, so being ‘breast aware’ and knowing what to look out for really does matter. 

Examining your breasts on a monthly basis and at the same time in the month will ensure that any changes that might arise are picked up on at an early stage. The best time to do a monthly self-breast exam is about three to five days after your period starts, as your breasts are not as tender or lumpy at this time in your monthly cycle.

A self-breast examination only takes a few minutes and the breast awareness five-point code, shown below, is simple step-by-step approach to follow:

C4C 5 point breast aware code

How to examine your breasts

Look at your breasts and feel each breast and armpit, and up to your collarbone. You may find it easiest to do this in the shower or bath, by running a soapy hand over each breast and up under each armpit.

You can also look at your breasts in the mirror. Look with your arms by your side and also with them raised.

Here are some examples of changes that you might notice:

C4C socialmedia post Breast Aware symptoms 1200x670 tw


Awareness and early detection of any changes lies at the heart of effective treatment, so do make sure that you take time to check your breasts; and don’t hesitate to let your GP, or specialist, know about any changes that don’t seem normal for you; no matter how small. Check4Cancer’s OneStop Breast service provides you with access to fast track diagnostic investigations, without need for referral from your GP, if you think you may have developed recent symptoms of breast cancer.

Changes to breasts over the course of our lifetime can happen for many and varied reasons, but it’s always best to check on a regular basis, in order to rule out breast cancer.