Many women spot the symptoms of breast cancer themselves by feeling a lump or noticing a thickening of the skin on their breast. Most breast lumps aren’t cancerous but it is essential that any symptoms are reported quickly to your GP as early detection of breast cancer saves lives.
Whilst most women are aware that a lump may indicate breast cancer, they may not be so familiar with other symptoms that may occur. These can include:
Swelling or a change in shape of the breast. One may become higher or lower than normal.
Discharge from the nipple that may contain blood.
A swelling or lump in the armpits.
Dimpling or puckering of the skin on the breast.
A rash around the nipple.
Sunken, inverted or misshaped nipples.
A constant pain in the breast or armpit that is not related to your menstrual cycle.
The most important thing women need to do is to know what is normal for them. All breasts are different, so becoming familiar with your breasts is essential in being able to detect when something changes.
The key breast awareness advice for all women of any age includes:
Examine your breasts regularly.
Know what is normal for you i.e. how your breasts look and feel.
Act immediately if you detect a change. Don’t hope it will just go away.
Know how to examine your breasts.
Whilst breast cancer does most commonly occur in women over 50, younger women shouldn’t be complacent and should check their breasts regularly. Teenagers and young women whose breasts are still developing will naturally notice changes in their breasts but, if you are concerned you should see a GP.
Women over the age of 70 should not assume because they are no longer called for regular breast screening by the NHS that they are not at risk of breast cancer. One in three women over the age of 70 develops breast cancer and, in this age group, knowledge of the symptoms of breast cancer is less well known.
If you are worried about breast cancer and would like to consider breast screening then please contact us and we can advise the best course of action for you.