Breast Cancer Awarness Month: How To Spot The Signs
This October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign that aims to raise awareness of Breast Cancer, the impact it has and how to spot the signs – early detection saves lives!
Breast Cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK and is discovered in 1 in 8 women during their lifetime, and although it is rare, men can also get it too, because of this it is important that everyone checks their breasts regularly.
The cause of Breast Cancer is not fully understood but there are many factors that will affect how likely you are to develop it, and whilst it is not known if Breast Cancer can be prevented there are ways to reduce the risks associated.
If you don’t know what to look for, read on to find out how to spot the signs.
How To Spot The Signs Of Breast Cancer
Below are some of the signs associated with breast cancer in women although, not everyone will experience the same symptoms this all depends on person to person.
If you would like to find out more about breast cancer from the NHS click here.
1. Lumps On Breasts
If you find a new lump or an area of thick tissue on your breasts or armpits which wasn’t there before, or swelling in your armpits, it could be a symptom of Breast Cancer.
Most lumps are benign like a cyst or fibroadenoma (a collection of fibrous glandular tissue) but it is best not to take that risk!
Always get a lump or swelling checked out by your doctor who will refer you for tests so you know for sure.
To find lumps use the pads of your fingertips to feel round your breasts and armpits – check out this demonstrative video to help you.
2. Size & Shape
Another symptom of Breast Cancer is a change in the size and shape of your breasts in a short period of time. This could be a change in one or both breasts.
Knowing the size and shape of your breasts and what is normal for you will really help you notice and determine if they have changed.
We recommend going for a check up if you feel your breasts feel or look different to usual – it may be nothing but it is better to be safe than sorry!
For a more in depth look into symptoms for different types of breast cancer check this page out.
Discharge from either nipple can be a sign you could have Breast Cancer.
If you are not pregnant or breastfeeding and have fluid leaking from a nipple there is a possibility you could have it, although other conditions can cause this.
Should you find any abnormalities in your breasts you should get it checked out by a doctor ASAP!
If you have nipple discharge and are unsure about what it is, this TikTok video will give you an insight on what it could be. But if you are really concerned, make an appointment with your GP.
Any changes in the appearance of your skin or nipples can be an indication of Breast Cancer.
Changes to your skin can be puckering or dimpling, a rash on the breast or redness on the skin. The skin can also look like orange peel, although that can also be caused by other breast conditions.
Changes to your nipple can include sinking into the breast or turning into the breast.
If you notice anything unusual about the texture of your breasts or the look of your nipples, make sure you get checked out so you can rule out any/all possibilities.
This video gives you a good visual of what to look for in the appearance of your breasts – so go and watch it now!
You might assume a rash as nothing to worry about, but this could be a symptom of Breast Cancer.
A rash similar to eczema on one or both your breasts or crusting, scaly and itchy skin or redness around the nipple are all signs you need to be aware of.
Some signs may feel insignificant and you may have a feeling of over reacting but it is better to get checked and find it is nothing to worry about than to ignore it and be cancerous – you will be doing yourself a favour.
This video by Rita explains the symptoms she had when she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer which will hopefully give you an idea of what you need to look for.
Breast pain is very common and it’s not normally due to Breast Cancer.
You might get pain in one or both breasts for various reasons such as during your menstrual cycle, which then goes after a time.
However if the pain is prolonged do get it checked, your doctor can advise you on what is best to do and whether you need tests done.
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Signs Of Breast Cancer In Men
For men the main symptom of Breast Cancer is a lump but the nipple and skin may also be affected.
Lumps that are cancerous are usually only in one breast, grow under/around the nipple, are painless, feel hard, don’t move within the breast, are bumpy and gradually get bigger. However, most lumps and swellings are benign but if in doubt – check it out!
Symptoms in men are similar to those in women, including nipple discharge and turning in, a rash around the nipple or the skin around it becoming hard and swollen and small bumps in the armpit, so if something doesn’t feel right don’t be afraid to seek medical help.
As it is uncommon for men to get Breast Cancer it is not looked at as much as women and it can be missed more often.
If it has spread to other parts of the body you may find other symptoms including tiredness, aching or painful bones, be short of breath, feel sick and itchy skin with yellowing skin and eyes.
For more information check out the NHS website.
How To Check
Checking your breasts for signs of Cancer is not as hard as you may think, you just need to follow these 3 rules:
- Touch – Can you feel anything that is different to normal or unusual for you?
- Look – Has anything changed, does it look different to normal?
- Check – Make sure anything abnormal to you is checked by your doctor as soon as you can.
Need some guidance? Follow along with this guide to help you, it has some great tips and shows you what you are looking out for.
What To Take Away This Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Studies have found that more than a third of women don’t check their breasts, don’t be a part of this statistic!
If you feel that something is not right make sure you see your GP, they can refer you to a specialist clinic who will run various tests.
Whilst older women are invited for screenings for breast cancer, this isn’t something that is offered to younger women and men, as the chances of this form of cancer are less likely. Although, you should still check for any indications just encase.
If diagnosed with Breast Cancer you will receive the treatment that best helps you – this could include a combination of treatments.
So finally everyone, your health is very important so remember to look after yourself. You can do this by making sure to check your breasts regularly and be aware of what is normal for you, so you can spot the signs early on.
Living away from home, studying at uni and living in student accommodation can be a stressful time, can have an impact on your mental health. Make sure you check out our 8 things to do to improve your mental health at uni blog for some great tips.