What are the signs and symptoms of breast cancer?

Find out about the signs and symptoms of breast cancer

Love your breasts – be breast aware

Most cases of breast cancer are found by women noticing unusual changes, taking the initiative and visiting their doctor. The earlier breast cancer is found, the better the chance of beating it – so it’s important to make regular checks.

Being breast aware simply means knowing what your breasts look and feel like normally, being on the lookout for any unusual changes and getting them checked out by your doctor.

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.

Watch our video to find out how to check for the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.

No one knows your body better than you and everyone will have their own way of touching and looking for changes – there’s no special technique and you don’t need any training. It’s good to get into the habit of doing this regularly – maybe when you’re in the bath or shower, or while getting dressed in the morning.

Changes to check for

Touch

Can you feel a lump? Either in the breast, upper chest or armpits.

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.

Look

Any change in size or shape? For example, one breast might become larger or lower than the other.

Any change in skin texture? Such as puckering or dimpling of the skin of the breast.

Any change in colour? For example the breast may look red or inflamed.

What about the appearance or direction of the nipple? For example, one might become inverted (turned in) when it normally points out.

Any unusual discharge? One or both nipples might have a discharge.

Any rash or crusting? Of the nipple or surrounding area.

Check

Is anything unusual? If so, get it checked out by your doctor as soon as possible.

You’ll find further details on how to be breast aware in our Touch Look Check leaflet and our Touch Look Check mini guide

iBreastCheck app

How do you go about checking your breasts? Our iBreastCheck app features a video, slideshow and handy reminder service to help you become more breast aware. Download our free iBreastCheck app for iPhone or Android – it could make all the difference.

Information last reviewed: November 2014

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