Breast awareness is really about getting to know yourself, your own body, feeling comfortable assessing your breasts so that if any changes occurred you’d know about it.
If you can learn to navigate your breasts, and understand what’s normal for you, you’ll be able to spot something that might not be quite right.
If you havent already acquainted yourself with your breasts well, do so. It’s important to have a good idea of the size, colour and shape of your breasts. As these may change.
Okay, so what do I do?
Glad you asked! Firstly LOOK!
Undress and find a mirror.
While looking in the mirror, raise your arms so you are able to see right underneath your breasts and also underneath your arms.
What differences would require a medical checkup?
- If you are experiencing redness or a rash to the skin.
- If your nipple or breast is a different shape.
- Your nipple may look pinched, swollen, bulging or inverted (as long as it wasn’t normally like this).
- Any discharge if you slightly squeeze the nipple.
- Visible change to the shape or size of the breast.
Breast lumps do not always form directly in the perkiest part of your chest. They can also form right up underneath your armpits, and even up to your collarbone. So to make sure you don’t miss a spot try to use this technique:
With one arm in the air, take the opposite hand and place it over your nipple. Begin to roll your flat fingers over your nipple in a clockwise formation.
Slowly move your hands outward from your nipple around your breast. Make sure to continue on with this until you’ve reached right in your cleavage, under your armpit and up your chest to your collarbone.
Once finished, repeat on the other side.
You might feel most comfortable using shower gel or moisturiser.
This process will help familiarise yourself with the lumps and bumps of your own breast tissue.
Go see your GP if:
- You find a lump that you are not familiar with.
- You’re experiencing pain in your breast that you wouldn’t normally experience as a part of your menstruation cycle.
- You are able to feel a change in size or shape of the breast.
But when do we start checking ourselves?
The time is now!
It doesn’t matter how big or small your breasts are, have a feel once a month!
If you menstruate, the best time to do it is AFTER your period. During your cycle, your breasts change with the changes of hormones. It’s common for women to experience discomfort, swelling, or bumps in their breast before and during their period.
So to be sure you’re getting the best idea of your ‘normal’ breast, check them in the few days after your period has finished.
If you don’t menstruate, pick a day in the month that suits you and put it on your calendar, for habits sake!
So what about mammograms?
A mammogram is an XRAY to your breasts. These are important as they are more likely to detect cancers which our fingers might not catch out.
Mammograms aren’t recommended for women under 40, as they are not so effective due to the difference in density in breast tissue at a younger age.
In Australia, women can have FREE mammograms from the age of 40.
Remember, be breast aware! Know your normal and go from there.
Be a good gal-pal and remind your friends to check their breasts once a month too.
If you have any worries, do not hesitate to see your GP!
For further information, or to see how you can support the breast cancer cause checkout these websites below.
Our guest blogger, Jocelyn from Talking V’s, is a Women’s Health nurse who is passionate about educating women about their bodies.
For more, head to talkingvs.com, or follow her on instagram at @talkingvs.