[Source/ Image description: A line of five different patterned pink ribbons on a pink background curled round to symbolise the Breast Cancer awareness logo]
Article by Sophie Dewberry
Boobs, titties, baps, jugs, bangers. Whatever you call them and whatever your relationship is with them, they’re a part of the body and it is so easy to check them for possible cancerous lumps and bumps, but we tend to forget. So here is a handy-dandy guide to teach you how to look after your knockers.
First and foremost I must stress that this disease is not exclusive to people with breasts, as those without breasts still have breast tissue on their chests and under their armpits therefore this article will apply to everyone!
The top 5 steps are as follows:
- Check regularly
- Know what’s normal for you
- Look and feel
- Check collarbones and armpits
- Go to the doctors if unsure
[Source/ Image description: A circular chart representing the time frame of ovulation and how a person’s breasts may look during it because of hormonal changes]
Side note: something that you may find if you are due or on your period is that there may be natural changes in your chest area. Don’t let this scare you! Figure out what’s normal as per your individual cycle and work off that. Just because there is one change it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have this disease.
And now for the official boobie check:
- It is very important to feel AND look at your chest. The skin may be dimpling or puckering which looks similar to orange peel.
- Breast tissue is found in your upper chest and armpit as well so make sure to check in those areas too.
- Some boobs are naturally lumpy and this can be perfectly normal. The key is to get to know how your boobs feel, so you would notice if any new lumps appear or if your boob starts to feel thicker in one area compared to the rest.
- Some breast pain can be perfectly normal, especially around your period, if you get those. But keep an eye out for any unexplained pain in your breast or your armpit that’s there all or almost all of the time.
- Check if any liquid comes out of the nipple without the help of you squeezing it.
- You may naturally have one boob bigger than the other or experience your boobs gradually changing as they get older. Many changes are perfectly normal, however if you notice a sudden, unusual change in size or shape then get it checked out.
- It is important to pay particular attention to your nipple during your checks as sometimes they become pulled inwards or generally just different to usual. A change in position and shape can occur.
- Skin is easily irritated for many reasons, especially if you are breastfeeding, but if you notice any redness or a rash on the skin and/or around the nipple or any crusting of the nipple, make sure you get it checked out by your doctor.
[Source/ Image description: A linear chart with graphics of the information previously described (e.g. rash on breast)]
Facts and statistics can seem scary but I think it is important to note the following:
- Breast screening is offered to people in the UK aged 47-50, so it is important for younger people to check their bodies themselves. Even when receiving mammograms it is still a good idea to know how to check so that you can do so in between appointments.
- 1 in 8 women in the UK under the age of 40 are affected by breast cancer in their lifetime and around 400 men are diagnosed every year so it’s especially important to give yourself a squeeze and catch the possible early signs.
Click here for a short video showing how you can check your chest for signs and symptoms of cancer.
This link will take you to the Coppafeel site where you can sign up for a free monthly text to remind you to check your boobs. It’s a great way to keep on track of your health as well as engaging with your awareness.