One in eight women in the UK are now diagnosed with breast cancer, and 40% of them discover the initial signs themselves. In honour of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and to help more people know what to look out for, we’ve compiled our advice on checking for the illness.
It’s daunting feeling like you’re taking your health in your own hands, but it doesn’t need to be. Professionals are always available to help you and there are simple things you can check regularly to increase your chance of finding anything suspect before it becomes serious. There is no set frequency that you should check, but aim for at least once a month and ensure you speak to a doctor or medical professional if you’re ever unsure. To make checking easier we recommend remembering just three key letters, TLC – Touch, Look, Check.
- Feel for lumps in the breast, upper chest and armpits.
- Are there any lumpy areas or an unusual thickening of tissue?
- Do you feel any unusual pain or sensitivity anywhere around the breast or armpit?
- Are there any visible changes in the size or shape of your breasts? Has one become larger or lower than the other?
- Can you spot any lumps or irregularities in the look of your breasts?
- Has a nipple changed shape or sunk into the skin? Does it look the same as normal? Has one become inverted when it normally points out?
- Are there any unusual rashes or marks on either breast? Is the colour the same and even on both breasts?
- Is there any dimpling in the skin of the breast? Does the texture look the same?
- Do you have any discharge, particularly blood stained, leaking from either breast?
If you notice any of the above symptoms or are concerned in any way, speak to a medical professional and get it checked. At The Private Clinic we have partnered with BreastHealth UK to provide thorough, professional breast screening services including a full clinical examination and bespoke screening programme.
Someone in the UK is diagnosed with breast cancer every 10 minutes. More and more people, however, are beginning to beat the illness. Early detection and understanding your own body is crucial to this. Regular self-checks are vital in the fight against the illness and doctors recommend different professional checks for different ages. For those aged 50-74 screening mammograms are recommended every two years, but clinical examinations are always recommended at any age. And, while the focus tends to be on women to get checked, men please remember you are not immune; in 2011 there were 350 male cases of the illness in the UK alone.
If you are at all concerned about your breast health, click here to book your Breast Health appointment at one of our participating clinics.