October is known as the Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it is celebrated around the whole world with donations and self-examination training. The thing is that, despite the fact that October is the awareness month, you should be aware of checking your breasts all year long, no matter your age or history. So, the best thing to do is make it a habit of yours to check and self-examine your breasts at least once a month, if not even more often.
Around 5,000 women under the age of 45 are diagnosed with breast cancer in the United Kingdom each year. However, when you think about the fact that 27% of breast cancer cases are preventable in the UK, it says a lot about the fact that we should be examining our breasts at least once a month. I know, the idea of examining your own breasts is a little scary to you. Believe me, to us too. Because we didn’t go to medical school either. But the beauty in all this is that you don’t need a medical degree to perfectly execute a breast examination.
How often should you check your breasts?
The thing is that there is no specific number of times you should check your breasts. However, it should be often enough that you know how your breasts are normally. In this way, you will be able to detect even the smallest changes that occur. In case that there is something you’re worried about and it doesn’t go away on its own, then it is time to consult a doctor.
Here is a list of symptoms and signs that you should be looking out for while doing a self-examination of your breasts:
- Changes in skin texture such as puckering/dimpling
- Nipple discharge
- Nipple inversion and changes in direction
- Swelling in your armpit or around the collarbone
- A sudden change in size or shape
- A rash or crusting of the nipple or surrounding area
- Lumps and thickening
- Constant, unusual pain in your breast or armpit
Make sure you examine right up to your collarbone and into armpits (lifting your arms up will make this easier.)
One very important thing to keep in mind is that there is no right or wrong way of checking your breasts as long as you do it regularly. Please take care of yourself.
You might also be interested in: Breast Cancer Awareness Month: How You Can Support Loved Ones