Self-help: Breast Awareness

You should become familiar with the appearance of your breasts so that you are able to recognize both normal and abnormal changes. The breasts vary in appearance and feel at different stages of the menstrual cycle and at different ages. The important thing is for you to become familiar with what is normal for you personally. Most changes are not serious but any change needs to be checked by a doctor without delay as it could be a sign of breast cancer. The following are the changes to look out for:

  • Lumps or thickened areas of tissue in one breast or armpit that are different from the corresponding part of the other breast or armpit.

  • Alterations in the shape or outline of your breasts, particularly any changes that occur when you move your arms or the breasts are lifted.

  • Dimpling or puckering of the skin of your breasts.

  • Pain or discomfort in one breast that is different from usual.

  • A rash on or around the nipple.

  • Bleeding or moist areas on the nipple that do not heal readily.

  • Any change in the position of your nipples.

  • Any discharge from the nipples (unless you are breast-feeding and it is a milky discharge).

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

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