This article from Breast Cancer Now about the important of regular self-checks appeared in a previous issue of Women Together during our centenary year, when we partenered with the charity. The advice and information, however, remain relevant today...
Breast Cancer Now’s TLC Campaign
Even if you’ve had a mammogram, it is still vital that you check your breasts for any changes and visit your doctor if you spot anything that looks or feels different for you. It’s as simple as TLC:
- TOUCH your breasts. Can you feel anything unusual?
- LOOK for changes. Is there any change in shape or texture?
- CHECK anything unusual with your doctor.
Changes to check for
Lump - may not be seen, but might be felt.
Can you feel a lump?
Either in the breast, upper chest or armpit?
Is there a lumpy area?
Or unusual thickening of the breast tissue
that doesn't go away?
Is there any unusual pain?
Either in part of the breast or the armpit?
e.g. dimpling or puckering
Any change in size or shape?
For example, one breast might become larger or lower than the other.
Any change in colour?
E.g. the breast may look red or inflamed.
Any change in skin texture?
Such as puckering or dimpling of the skin of the breast.
Appearance or direction of the nipple
What about the appearance or the direction of the nipple?
E.g. one might become inverted (turned in) when it normally points out.
Any unusual discharge?
One or both nipples might have a discharge.
Rash or crusting
Any rash or crusting of the nipple or surrounding area.
Get the App
Breast Cancer Now’s Breast Check Now app is designed to help women set a reminder to check their breasts and establish a potentially lifesaving habit.
The charity says that almost half (44%) of all women in Scotland are not regularly checking for the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, the top reason for not checking regularly being simply because they forget (51%).
Breast Cancer Now’s Director for Scotland Mary Allison said: “This year, in Scotland alone, around 4,600 women will receive a diagnosis of breast cancer and almost 1,000 will lose their lives to the disease. Checking your breasts regularly – at least once a month - could save your life. The earlier you find breast cancer the greater the likelihood of a better outcome.
“The biggest challenge is that many women still have not developed a habit of regular checking. With our Breast Check Now campaign we want to remind women in Scotland that checking matters and we want to give them the right tools to make this easier.
“By downloading our free Breast Check Now app you don’t have to worry about remembering as it will help you create a habit of regular checking that fits with your life.”
The free app, available for both Apple and Android devices, encourages women to set up a checking routine that fits around their lifestyle. It also provides information on what to look for, giving them the confidence to know what is normal for their body and encouraging them to visit their GP with any concerns.