Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Signs & Symptoms To Look Out For
October brings with it breast cancer awareness month. One of the most important things when it comes to breast cancer is knowing the signs and symptoms to look out for.
Knowing the usual look and feel of your breasts is essential. This is how you will know if anything irregular has occurred. Noticing any changes and acting on them quickly is the best way to get any treatment that may be needed. It is also very important to attend any mammogram and other screening tests that you are scheduled in for, as just knowing signs and symptoms isn’t 100% effective.
What To Look Out For:
Signs and symptoms of breast cancer include:
A change in size or shape of your breast
A lump on the breast. This can sometimes feel like a thicker piece of skin
Your nipple has changed shape, colour or position
A constant pain in the breast or armpit area
A swelling in the armpit or collarbone area
A rash around your nipple area
A change in the texture of the skin on your breast. Often looking puckered.
What To Do If You Find A Lump
Firstly, don’t panic. If you find a lump it is often the case that it is not breast cancer, rather a benign breast condition. 9 out of 10 lumps are harmless afterall.
A benign breast condition often mimics the symptoms of breast cancer and can often require a biopsy for diagnosis.
If you find a lump or notice any of the above symptoms don’t hesitate to book a doctors appointment straight away and get checked out. There is no such thing as being fussy or particular when it comes to your breast health.
Screenings And Mammograms
In Ireland, Breastcheck offer free mammograms to women aged 50-64. This involves inviting eligible women for a screening on an area basis for a screening.
You may be wondering what happens during a mammogram. It can often be daunting going for a medical procedure not knowing the ins and outs. During a mammogram you will stand in front of an x-ray machine. Your breast will be placed on a an x-ray plat and compressed with a clear paddle. This is necessary to obtain a clear picture of the breast. Some women find this a painful process whilst others find it a mild discomfort. A mammogram isn’t a long process and usually takes 5 or 10 minutes to complete.
How To Check Your Breasts
It’s all well and good knowing the signs and symptoms to look out for, but knowing how to check for them is equally, if not more, important.
Start by looking at your breasts in a mirror, standing up straight with your arms by your sides. Before or after you shower is a great time to do this. You are looking out for any changes in the look, shape or texture of your breasts.
Next, raise your arms above your head and check for the same changes.
For the next step it is best to lie down, but it can also be done in the shower. To check out your left breast use your right breast and vice versa. Use a smooth but firm touch to feel the all over area of your breast, pressing in to find any irregularities.