Every October, the world turns pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a global initiative for raising awareness about breast cancer and promoting early detection.
It's a reminder of how important it is to take control of your breast health, and one of the most effective ways to do that is by regularly checking your breasts, at least once a month!
Read to find out how to check your boobs, why it's so important, and some stats you need to know.
Here's a Breakdown On How To Check Your B🍒bs
A breast self-exam is actually a fairly easy process that you can do at home. It takes only a few mins each month to this (potentially life-saving) routine by following these steps:
Step 1: Find a Comfy Spot
Find somewhere comfy where you can stand or sit with your arms relaxed.
Step 2: Take a Good Look
Start by looking at your boobs in the mirror with your arms by your sides. Check them for any changes in size, shape, or contour. Pay attention to skin changes, such as dimpling or redness.
Check out our handy diagram below to help:
Step 3: Lift 'Em Up
Lift your arms overhead and again look for changes in your boob size, shape, and contour. Plus, be sure to check your skin for any changes.
Step 4: Get Handsy
Lift one arm up and gently use the pads of your fingers on the other hand to feel your boob. Use a circular motion, ensuring you cover the entire breast area—from the collarbone to the top of the abdomen, and from the armpit to the cleavage area. Look for any lumps, thickening, or knots.
Step 5: Nipples Next
Get a good look at your nipples and check for any signs of discharge, rash, or inversion (this is when the nipple turns inward).
Step 6: Get Really Comfy
Lie down on your back and repeat the circular motion to check your breasts. Lying down can help you feel for any changes more easily and help get confirmation of something you may think you felt while checking standing up.
That's it, you've just done your first breast check 🍒
Our boobs are super responsive to hormones which is why changes to your boobs can occur for various reasons, other than breast cancer. For example, during your period our oestrogen levels increase which causes our milk ducts and glands to swell. This can trap fluid in our boobs and cause swelling or lumpiness. So because of this, not all changes indicate breast cancer. However, if you notice anything unusual or persistent during your self-exam, contact your GP.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women and people with periods in the EU. In 2020, approximately 384,500 new cases of breast cancer were reported in the EU and it's estimated that 92,800 people in the EU lost their lives to breast cancer in 2020.
Taking care of your breast health is super important, and by checking your boobs regularly and knowing what's normal for you, you can spot any changes early and get the help you need. Not to be a debbie-downer, but breast cancer is a very serious disease, but with early detection, it can be treated! So, let's all remember to check our boobs, and encourage our friends and family to do the same.
Early detection is the best protection 🍒
Resources and Support
- World Health Organisation
- National Breast Cancer Research Institute, Ireland
- Breast Cancer Ireland
- Breast Cancer UK
- NHS How to check your breasts
- Cancer Research UK