As a centre of excellence for breast reconstruction we know how important it is to check your breasts on a regular basis so that you know the size, shape and feel of them. By doing that, it’s more likely that you’ll notice when there are changes. It doesn’t matter when you check your breasts, as long as you check regularly on at least a monthly basis.
The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the better the chance of successful treatment. According to Cancer Research UK, “When diagnosed at its earliest stage, around all women with breast cancer will survive their disease for five years or more, compared with 3 in 20 women when the disease is diagnosed at the latest stage.”
Tips for checking your breasts:
- Establish a routine for yourself – by doing that, the easier it will be for you to see if something has changed. If you still have periods, then a good time would be several days after your period has ended when your breasts are least likely to be tender or swollen. If you don’t have periods, then it’s often a good idea to choose a day that you can remember at the start or end of a month.
- Work through each part of your breast and include the outer area, upper area, near your armpit and then the lower part.
- Keep a diary of what you find when you’re checking your breasts. You could include a drawing of your breasts with notes on where you feel any changes. This will help you remember what is normal for your breasts.
- Don’t panic if you do find a lump. Many women have some lumps or lumpy areas in their breasts all the time and most breast lumps turn out to be non-cancerous.
- Contact your doctor right away if you find any changes.