In the UK, 1 in 8 women will experience breast cancer in their lifetime with 400 men diagnosed every year according to Breast Cancer Care. Breast cancer is a huge problem for society, and 9 out of 10 women believe that cancer education should be on the national curriculum according to charity CoppaFeel.
Younger women check their boobs less, and only half of young women are confident to start checking their boobs. It’s an important process that could save your life. Although it’s rare for a younger person to get breast cancer, it can still happen. Therefore, it’s never too young to check your boobs.
It can be awkward asking what to look for and can feel a little odd to be asking other people. Thankfully, CoppaFeel put together a helpful checklist of how to check your boobs and where to go next.
You should get to know your boobs well before the test. Make sure that you know what is regular on your body. So look out for changes in skin textures such as dimpling or puckering. It’s important to check not just your boobs, but your upper chest and armpits too as these also contain breast tissue.
Make sure to look for any changes such as a rash or some kind of irritation. If your nipples begin to discharge or if they suddenly inverse as these are potential signs of breast cancer. It’s perfectly normal to have one boob bigger than the other, but if there’s a sudden change this can be a problem.
Now this may feel strange or a little creepy, but there is nothing to be embarrassed about. Women should be checking their boobs regularly to see if there are any new lumps or thickening. Boobs are naturally lumpy, so this can be normal – but get to know your boobs to make sure that yours haven’t changed.
Feel for constant or irregular pain in your breasts. During your period or during a stressful time, some pain can be perfectly normal. If there is unexpected pain in your breast or armpit for a reasonable amount of time, then this could be an early sign.
Now is the time to contact professionals to check you out. In most cases, it’s nothing serious if caught early and can save your life. Make sure to book an appointment with a GP and write all your concerns out to clearly demonstrate them.
Whilst you are waiting for an appointment or a test, you can contact Breast Cancer Now who will be able to help. They have a helpline manned by trained breast care nurses who may be able to answer any questions or worries you may have.
Whatever you do, don’t forget to check your boobs regularly as catching the symptoms early could save your life. Find out more on the NHS website.
Words by Charlie Vogelsang