5 Tips To Make Breast Awareness Effective All Year Long

Published: 31 October 2019

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Today marks the last day of Breast Awareness Month, but breast cancer prevention doesn’t stop today. Our Breast Care Nurse Alexa has given us 5 useful tips to help us follow up on our breast health all year long.

Breast Awareness Doesn't Stop At The End Of October

October has come to an end, and on the last day of Breast Awareness Month, we want to emphasise the importance of being proactive in managing our health.

Our Breast Care Nurse Alexa has 5 tips to help you with your breast awareness all year long.

“Breast awareness is not a topic routinely bought up in conversation, but it is a conversation worth having. As a Breast Care Nurse, I am in a privileged position to be able to discuss and educate men and women on breast awareness.

One of the most common concerns I hear is either they feel unsure what they are checking for or that checking their breasts cause anxiety. They are worried that they will find something.

Breast awareness is about giving you the confidence to find and seek medical advice if a breast change is observed. 

But prevention doesn’t end in October. You should take care of your breast health every month of the year!

5 Tips To Make Breast Awareness Effective All Year Long

Here are my 5 tips that will help you to be consistent and efficient in your breast awareness routine:

1. Establishing what is normal for you

Part of being aware of your breast health is knowing your breasts, noticing the shape, size, colour and texture. It’s good to familiarise yourself with how your breasts look. It will then be easier to recognise any changes from the norm. Some women may find they have one breast which is larger than the other or have inverted nipples. This may be completely normal for some women but can indicate a change for others.

2. Do your breast self-examination correctly

You can do your breast self-examination lying or standing, raising your arm above your head on the side you are checking. It is recommended to do your breast self-examination after your period when your breast is less swollen and tender. The best way to check your breast is by using a flat hand using a firm, smooth touch to cover the surface area of each breast.

3. Build a routine for your breast self-examination

If you get used to checking your breast at certain times of the day or on certain days, it will be easier to remember to do it and be consistent with your self-examination. You can do it in the morning when you wake up while still laying down or in the shower as applying soap to your hands can make checking easier. It is also more convenient to fit into your routine.

4. What to look for during your breast self-examination  

During your self-examination, new lumps are the first things to look for, but there are many other aspects to check. Some things to look for are:

  • Change in size of your breasts - after puberty is complete
  • Dimpling or in-drawingof the skin, for example if the skin looks like the texture of the orange peel
  • Lumpiness or thickening
  • Newly inverted nipple
  • Bloodstained discharge from nipple
  • A rash, often eczema-like, on the nipple or surrounding area
  • Swelling or lump in the armpit

Should you notice any of the above symptoms, recognise any lumps that are different from usual or feel something like a hard cherry stone, then arrange an appointment with your GP. You can also book one of our One-Stop Breast Clinics for a full check-up.

5. Take care of your loved ones

Remind your family and close friends about the importance of breast self-examination and encourage them to do it on a regular basis. Self-examination is the first form of prevention. In the case of malignant masses, early detection is key in the treatment of breast cancer.

If you do feel something different or a lump in your breast, it is important to remember that not all lumps are found to be cancerous and many are benign and completely harmless such as cysts.

The main thing to remember when it comes to breast awareness is, it’s about knowing what looks and feels normal for you, so if a change does occur you will be able to recognize and report it to your GP.

Don’t let Breast Awareness end today. Make it part of your routine and take action to protect your breast health every day.”

 

At New Victoria Hospital, our Breast Care Nurse Alexa is available for free breast care self-examination advice.

Call 020 8949 9029 to make an appointment or ask for more information.

 

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