Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is breast cancer awareness month, so we thought we would share some vital information with you about breast cancer.

Common breast cancer signs

There are a few signs that are indications of breast cancer including:

  • A lump or swelling in the breast, upper chest or the armpit.
  • A change in the skin such as dimpling or puckering
  • A change in the colour of the breast such as redness or looking inflamed
  • Changes to the nipples such as becoming inverted
  • A rash or crusting around the nipple
  • Unusual discharge from the nipple
  • Changes in size or shape of the breast

With lumps for example, they might not be readily visible but can be spotted by feel. It is important to check your breasts regularly.

How to check your breasts

Firstly, make sure it forms part of your normal routine. It is important to know what is normal for you. Every woman’s breasts are different and it is only by know what your normal is that you will be able to see or feel something abnormal which might need to be checked out by a GP. It is recommended to check your breasts at the same time every month as there will be natural changes during your menstrual cycle which will make your breasts feel different at different times of the month.

When checking your breasts don’t only focus on the immediate breast area, check your armpits and all the way up to your collar bone as well.

The process of checking is very simple. Run your hands over your breasts, armpits and collarbones to physically feel for any changes. Stand in front of a mirror and look at your breasts, armpits and collar bones and also physically check them too. Do this both with your arms at the side and raised above your head. Lean forwards after this and check for dimpling, puckering or bulging and finally lie down on your back and check again. It is important to check both breasts and compare them to each other to spot any differences. If you feel or see anything unusual or any of the common symptoms described above, then go and see your GP without delay. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

Although much more rare, men can also get breast cancer and it is important that men also check themselves regularly. The most common symptoms of breast cancer in men are:

  • Nipple inversion
  • Nipple becoming hard and inflamed
  • Fluid leaking from the nipples
  • Lump under or around the nipple
  • Small bumps in the armpits
  • Rash or soreness around the nipple which persists

With men, it is only a small amount of breast tissues behind the nipple, which is typically affected so, for the most part, only the nipple area is affected but there can be inflammation in the lymph nodes.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month – Not Just for Ladies!

Men should check themselves regularly for signs of breast cancer. Typically, men will be looking for lumps behind or around the nipples which are hard and do not move with the nipple. Mostly, these lumps will be painless but not in all cases. Although if there are any of the symptoms mentioned above a trip to the GP for a proper check-up is needed. Men’s breast tissue can become enlarged due to a harmless condition called Gynaecomastia but no matter the cause of the lumps these should be checked out by a GP as soon as possible.