October means the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Catching breast cancer early is vital, and while attending your GP is important, it is always good to know how to self check at home.
Currently Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women in Ireland. Sadly over 3,000 diagnoses being made every single year. That breaks down to 8 women a day being diagnosed.
Follow these simple steps to self check your breasts.
- Stand in front of a mirror and familiarise your breasts. Taking care to note their size, pigmentation, the appearance of the skin and the appearance of the nipple.
- Next, using four fingers and the flat of your hand, begin at the outer edge of the breast, near your chest, and work around in a full 360-degree circle. Keep pressing the breast in circular motions, taking noticing to if any breast tissue feels different. Continue feeling around in circular motions, moving inwards, until you reach the nipple.
- It is important to check your armpit, as breast tissue also extends here. Raising one arm up above your head, use your four fingers and feel around the breast tissue. You might find this easier to do while lying down.
- Gently squeeze your nipple and check for discharge.
It is also good to be aware of the following,
- Changes in size or shape.
- A change in the nipple.
- Changes like dimpling, puckering or redness in the skin.
- If there is an swelling in your armpit or around your collarbone.
- Finally, a lump, any size, or thickening in your breast.
While checking at home is important, it is even more important to seek professional help if you have any issues or concerns. Contact your local GP for the best and most professional advice.