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A Simple Guide To Help Ensure You’re Breast Aware

Patient Information

October is Breast Awareness Month and during this month alone more than 5,000 women will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer. In the UK Breast Cancer affects 1 in 8 women and 1 in 870 men in their lifetime.

Around 80% of all patients who visit The Breast Unit at The Hospital of St John & St Elizabeth have symptoms of breast pain. Our specialist service consists of a multi-disciplinary team led by leading breast surgeons and nurses who work in partnership with colleagues in imaging and pathology to ensure patients receive ultimate standards of care and are seen and investigated at the same appointment.

With this in mind, below is a step by step guide in line with Breast Cancer Care. This guide explains the importance of checking your breasts regularly and knowing how your breasts look and feel – enabling you to feel more confident when noticing any unusual changes.

Whatever your age, size or shape, it’s important to take care of your breasts.

Check every part of your breasts and chest area

It’s important to get used to looking at and feeling your breast regularly. If you check them as part of your usual routine, for instance when you are in the shower, bath, using body lotion or getting dressed, you won’t need to worry that you aren’t doing it often enough. Familiarising yourself with how your breasts feel at different times of the month and knowing what is normal for you is key, as this can change during your menstrual cycle. You don’t need to feel them in any special way and it may be helpful to record findings in a journal.

Check all parts of your breasts including your armpits and up to your collarbone for any unusual changes.

How to check your breasts

The following changes could be:

• A change in size and shape of the breast
• A lump or an area that feels thicker than normal

A change in skin texture and redness around the nipple

• A change in skin texture such as puckering or dimpling (like the skin of an orange)
• Redness or a rash on the skin and/or around the nipple
Change in skin texture
• Pain in your breast or armpit area that’s present almost all of the time
• Swelling in your armpit around your collarbone

If you notice any unusual changes or are concerned, it’s important to make an appointment with your GP as soon as possible.

Every year around 340 men get breast cancer in the UK alone so it’s essential that males are aware of any changes in their chest area.

Please remember, 9 out of 10 women who find a breast lump do not have breast cancer, but it is vital to act quickly if you notice any changes that are not normal for you.

Make an appointment at the Breast Unit

Here at the Breast Unit we have a highly skilled team formed of surgeons, oncologists, radiologists and specialist physicians who are supported by leading consultants and specialist breast nurses who use the latest endoscopic and diagnostic technologies. Using the latest state-of-the-art facilities, the unit provides an efficient and comprehensive service in a friendly environment, with the aim of providing patients with results on the same day, wherever possible.

To make an appointment or for any queries please call our team on 020 3370 1041 or email breastunit@hje.org.uk.

Flexible appointment times are available.

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