Checking Your Breasts For Changes
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Whether you call them boobs, breasts, pecs or whatever, as a young person, whatever sex you identify as – as we all have breast tissue – you should be checking them regularly for any changes.
This article is also available in Welsh – I ddarllen y cynnwys yma yn Gymraeg – clicia yma
How often should I check my breasts?
It is best to check your breasts for any changes regularly at the same time every month. Hormones can have an affect on your body, so your breasts might feel a bit different at different times of the month, so it’s best to check at around the same time every month. You can even sign up to get a CoppaFeel! text message reminder free every month so that you don’t forget.
Why do I need to check?
Breasts come in all shapes and sizes so what’s normal for you might not be normal for someone else. By checking regularly you will get to know what’s normal for you and be able to spot any changes quickly.
Looking at your breasts
Start by standing in front of a mirror and look at your breasts. Do this with your arms up and your arms down. Does anything look different? Keep an eye out for things like:
- Changes in size or shape
- Changes in the nipple
Feeling your breasts
Not all changes can be seen by simply looking so feeling your breasts is really important.
Take each breast one at a time and feel all around it, you should also feel your armpits and up to your collarbone too. You might find it easier to do this when you’re taking a shower.
Can you feel any lumps or does something feel different?
Are you feeling any pain? It’s normal to have painful or sore breasts sometimes but is there a new pain in one breast that doesn’t go away? Pain isn’t usually a sign of breast cancer but you should get it checked out anyway.
See a doctor
If you find something unusual it doesn’t always mean breast cancer – but you should get it checked out. Make an appointment with your doctor.
We know it can be embarrassing to talk to a doctor about some things, especially when it comes to certain parts of your body – but the sooner you get things checked out the better it is. If it is cancer, the quicker they catch it the quicker they can start treating it.
If you feeling anxious about telling somebody then our advisers are here for you between 8am and midnight every day. Calling, texting or chatting online is confidential and free and we can talk things through with you, give you advice and help you to take the steps that you need to take (contact details below).
CoppaFeel! is a fantastic youth friendly website with information about checking your breasts. Head over to their Self-Checkout section which has loads of tips, guides and information that you’ll find useful.
Breast Cancer Now has lots of information and support on their website as well as a helpline where you can ask a breast care nurse any questions, talk things through or find support. Call 0808 800 6000.