St Clements Blog – Dr Rose, the Winchester GP’s, guide to looking after your breasts

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a special time when everyone can come together to learn about breast health and how to look after yourself. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, but there’s good news – early detection can save lives. In this blog post, we’ll talk about why Breast Cancer Awareness Month is important and how you can check your breasts at home without any fancy jargon. We’ll also provide some helpful links to UK websites that can give you more information. 
Why Breast Cancer Awareness Month Is Important 
Breast Cancer Awareness Month isn’t just about pink ribbons; it’s a chance for all of us to learn more about our bodies and how to stay healthy. Here’s why it matters: 
  1.    Early Detection Matters: Finding breast cancer early greatly improves the chances of getting better. When breast cancer is found early, it’s often easier to treat. 

    2.    Knowledge is Power: When you know about breast health, you can take better care of yourself. Learning about breast cancer empowers you to make informed decisions about your health. 

    3.    Support and Sharing: Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a time for people to share their stories, get support, and raise awareness about breast cancer.

Together, we can make a difference. 
How to Check Your Breasts at Home 
Checking your breasts at home is easy, and it’s something you can do regularly to look for any changes. Here’s how: 

Step 1: Get Ready 
    •    Stand in front of a mirror in a well-lit room. 
    •    First, check your breasts with your arms by your sides, and then with your arms raised. 
Step 2: Look in the Mirror 
    •    Look for changes in the size, shape, or how your breasts look. 
    •    Check if there are any dimples, puckers, or redness on your skin. 
    •    Look at your nipples for any changes, like them being pulled in or if there’s any unusual stuff coming out. 
Step 3: Feel Your Breasts 
    •    Lie down on your back with a pillow under one shoulder and your arm behind your head. 
    •    Use the flat part of your fingers to feel your breast gently. Move your fingers in little circles, making sure to cover your whole breast and your armpit. 
    •    Press lightly, then a bit harder, and then a bit firmer, but not too hard. 
Step 4: Stand Up and Feel Again 
    •    Stand up and do the same thing for both breasts while you’re standing. 
Step 5: Check Your Nipples 
    •    Squeeze your nipples gently to see if anything unusual comes out. 
If you notice any of these changes during your self-check, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor: 
    •    A new lump or something that feels thicker in your breast or armpit. 
    •    Changes in how your breasts look or if they feel different. 
    •    Pain in your breast that doesn’t go away. 
    •    Weird stuff coming out of your nipple. 
    •    Skin changes, like redness, dimples, or puckering. 

Useful Links for More Information (UK Websites) 

To learn more about breast health and breast cancer, here are some easy-to-understand websites based in the UK: 

    1.    CoppaFeel!: - CoppaFeel! is a UK charity that’s all about raising awareness of breast cancer in young people. They have lots of easy-to-understand info about breast health. 
    2.    Breast Cancer Now: - Breast Cancer Now is a UK charity that does research and provides support and info about breast cancer. 
    3.    NHS Breast Screening Program: - The NHS has info about breast cancer screening in the UK, including mammograms. 

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a time for all of us to take care of our breast health. By checking your breasts regularly and learning more about breast cancer, you’re taking a big step towards staying healthy and informed. Together, we can make sure that breast cancer is detected early, and more lives are saved.