Being aware of changes to your breast tissue is really important. Being familiar with what your "normal" is, could help you spot a change, which is worth checking out with your GP doctor as it could be a sign of breast cancer.
It might seem like a daunting task - where do I start? what is normal for me? - but really it's simple, the most important thing is to have a go and do this often, so you can spot if something changes and if you aren't sure just ask a doctor, there is nothing to be embarrassed or shamed about.
Given frequency is the key, we are committing to remind you to check your boobs/ chest/ pecs on the 1st of every month. We'll do this on our social channels.
Ready to check? We've included some useful info below based on the information on the CoppaFeel website. When we say breasts, we mean the tissue from your rib cage up to your collarbone and armpits, including your nipples.
Look your breast tissue - this includes your boobs and at the area from your armpit, across and beneath your boobs, and up to your collarbone.
Look out for changes in:
- your skin, like puckering or dimpling.
Tip: It might be easier to use a mirror and, if able, look with both arms raised or down by your sides. Always do it the same when you check.
Remember: ladies, during your natural cycle or pregnancy it is normal for both boobs to fluctuate in size.
2. FEEL BOTH BOOBS
Feel your breast tissue - that is both boobs and the area from your armpit, across and beneath your boobs, and up to your collarbone.
Look out for changes in:
- skin, like puckering or dimpling
- lumps, bumps or skin thickening (which aren't on the opposite boob)
Tip: If able, this might be easier with arms raised, by your side, or lying down.
Remember: Boobs feel a little bit like a cauliflower due to the make up of glands in your boobs. So it's important to know what your cauliflower is like so you can feel for 'unusual' lumps and bumps. Breast pain is very normal if part of your natural cycle or non-cycle related in women over 40.
3. NOTE YOUR NIPPLES
Look out for:
- nipple discharge (that's not milky)
- rash or crusting that doesn't quickly heal
- change in the position of your nipple
Tip: You may find it easier to use a mirror.
If you notice any of the changes listed above, don't worry, they could be completely normal - because if you haven't noticed by now, our bodies are wonderfully unique and evolving things. The best thing to do is make an in person appointment with your GP who will be able to help.
I can personally vouch on this experience. During the spring of 2020 I was having a wobbly because I noticed changes to my nipples - from which doctor Google informed me it wasn't positive (word of advice - don't google your symptoms, just pick up the phone to your GP surgery). After a quick call to 111 (it was lock down and I couldn't attend my local GP) I spoke with a lovely female doctor who walked me through several questions about the changes, and reassured me that it was just hormone changes as I aged. I was relieved but my nipples kept changing and were sore, so in September 2020 I booked an in person appointment at my GP surgery. The wonderful lady doctor was very kind and informative and reassured me that again, these changes were normal and nothing to worry about but encouraged me to come back if I felt any different. I was lucky but it made me alive to check 'my normal' and ask a professional if I wasn't sure.
Image credit: CoppaFeel