*Statistics provided in this post are in conjuction with information shared at the time of posting. For updated figures, please do research those if you would like*
I don’t know about you, but I’m guilty of not checking my boobs enough, or at all. I’ve always been told it’s important, but I have been lazy about it which I am not proud of. It takes a couple of minutes each month, so really there are no excuses. I’ve taken the time to educate myself and decided to compile a post about it for my fellow breast bearers.
Feeling your breasts is a key way of detecting breast cancer, so if taking some time in the shower to check around for anything anomalous – it could literally save your life. CoppaFeel! are the UK’s first breast cancer awareness charity with a sole aim of educating and installing the correct knowledge from as early an age as possible, to ensure that we are confident to check our breasts regularly.
So what do the statistics show?
It’s not just women that can suffer from breast cancer, it can also affect men. Statistics shared by Breast Cancer Now state “Around 55,000 women and 370 men are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the UK” and 4% of those cases in women are from those aged under 39. As a woman in my early 20s, that is a scary statistic to swallow. Breast Cancer Now also added “Breast cancer survival is improving and has doubled in the past 40 years in the UK due to a combination of improvements in treatment and care, earlier detection through screening and a focus on targets, including faster diagnosis.”
So in reference to early detection, it is vital to CHECK YOUR BOOBS. It’s important to note that breast tissue also reaches under your armpits and up to your collarbones so do check the whole area.
What if I’m forgetful?
Fear not, one quick and easy way to start checking your boobs today is to sign up to reminders. I’ve opted for the monthly text option, but will also make a conscious effort to do more in between.
So how exactly do we check our boobs?
If you’re more of a visual learner, CoppaFeel! have a short but sweet educational video that explains it all. It’s all about looking and feeling so there’s no definitive way of how to check, but here are some pointers:
- Look to see if there is a change in size or shape
- Look to see if any parts of your skin are puckering or dimpling
- Feel for any lumps and bumps
- Look for nipple discharge, redness or abnormal crustiness
- Look for rashes
- Notice any new pain or discomfort in one or both breasts (you can get boob pain on your period, but you will know if the pain is prolonging after your period or is unusually intense)
You can examine your boobs both standing up and lying down, so perfect for in the shower or before going to sleep at night. Ideally use three fingers to work in circular motions (also up and down) across your breasts, collarbones and armpits. Do what makes you comfortable, just as long as you are thoroughly checking all areas.
What do I do if I feel like something isn’t right?
ALWAYS book an appointment to see your GP or gynaecologist as soon as possible. They will be more than happy to check for you, it’s their job after all! It is better to be safe than sorry.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month each year, but awareness is, of course, raised all year round and I wanted to use the small platform I have to share what I’ve learnt and instil confidence in those that were unsure how to check their breasts. You are never too young to start checking and there is technically no right or wrong way. You spend the most time with your own body, so are more likely to know when something isn’t quite right.
You can monitor any noticeable differences for 5 days, but if they don’t change, please do seek guidance from your GP.
I hope this has helped provide a guide on how best to check the breast. Do you regularly check?
Until next time,