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Breast cancer – action update

November 17 2017
Most breast lumps (90 per cent) aren't cancerous, but it's always best to have them checked by your doctor

Most breast lumps (90 per cent) aren't cancerous, but it's always best to have them checked by your doctor.

Go to the doctor if you find: a new lump or area of thickened tissue; change in the size or shape or one or both breasts; a rash on or around your nipple; a lump or swelling in your armpit; dimpling on the skin of your breasts; a change in appearance of your nipple.

• Thirty-two per cent of cancers diagnosed in women are breast cancer
• You are less likely to need a mastectomy if your cancer is detected early
• In the UK, breast cancer survival has doubled in the last 40 years

It is important to know your breasts. Follow these three steps to check for lumps. Do this once a month:


In front of a mirror

• Look at your breasts with your arms by your sides. Then raise your arms high overhead. Look for any changes in the shape, any swelling, or dimpling of the skin, or changes in the nipples.
• Next, rest your palms on your hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles. Left and right breasts will not exact match – few women's breasts do – so look for any dimpling, puckering or changes, particularly on one side.


Lying Down

• When lying down, the breast spreads out evenly on the chest. Put a pillow under your shoulder and an arm behind your head
• Using your hand, move your fingers around your breast gently in small circular motions, covering the entire breast area and armpit
• Squeeze the nipple; check for discharge and lumps. Repeat for the other breast.



• Using your fingers, move around your entire breast in a circular direction, moving from the outside to the centre
• Check the entire breast and don't forget your armpit area.

Check both breasts every month, feeling for any changes. Remember to get any lumps evaluated by a GP.