Place Your Hands On Your Hip
Strip to the waist and stand before a mirror. You will need to see both breasts at the same time. Stand with your hands on your hips and check the overall appearance of your breasts.
Look at the size, shape, and contour.
Note changes, if any, in the color or texture of the skin on your breasts as well as on your nipples and areolas.
How To Check Breasts For Signs Of Cancer
When checking the breasts, a woman should first look for any obvious swelling, lumps, abnormal contouring, dimpling or puckering of the skin.
Examine the nipples to ensure they are not cracked, inverted or inside out. Sore nipples can also be a warning sign.
Raise the hands above the head to look for any hidden swelling or lumps. These can also be detected by placing both hands on the hips and gently leaning forwards.
The next step is known as the palpation process. Press the pads of the middle three fingers, rather than the tips, against the opposite breast. Cover the whole breast, either in a circular fashion or up and down.
Breast tissue extends from the collarbone to the breast bone, as well as the armpit, all of which should be checked.
Nipples should also be examined for lumps and gently squeezed to check for any discharge, with blood sometimes being a sign of early breast cancer.
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The palpation process should be repeated while lying down, with the corresponding arm to the breast raised above the head.
The NHS stresses women should also look for any rashes and moist, red areas on the nipple that dont heal easily.
Pain is rarely a symptom of breast cancer, however, any new discomfort that does not ease should be checked over.
Overall, women should get used to what is normal for them at different times of the month.
What Should You Do If You Feel A Breast Lump
Dr. Joshi says your first action after feeling a breast lump should be to schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor.
Your doctor will look for a variety of features and characteristics in order to answer questions such as:
- How large is the lump?
- Does the lump move and slip under the fingers, or is it attached to the skin?
- Is the lump painless or painful?
- Is the lump accompanied by red, itchy or inflamed skin?
- Is the lump affecting the nipple, causing inversion or discharge?
- Is the lump changing in size?
- Does the lump become more painful or change in size around your period?
- Is there more than on lump?
- Are there lumps in both breasts?
“Based on the physical and clinical characteristics of the lump, your doctor may or may not recommend follow-up tests to more thoroughly evaluate the mass, such as a diagnostic mammogram or biopsy,” explains Dr. Joshi.
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Invasive Breast Cancer Symptoms
Most breast cancers start in the ducts, or the tubes that carry milk to the nipple, or in the lobules, the little clusters of sacs where breast milk is made. Invasive breast cancer refers to breast cancer that spreads from the original site to other areas of the breast, the lymph nodes or elsewhere in the body. In these cancers that form in the ducts or lobules, invasive ductal carcinoma or invasive lobular carcinoma , the cancer spreads from the ducts or lobules to other tissue. Depending on the stage, you may notice symptoms.
Invasive breast cancer symptoms may include:
- A lump or mass in the breast
- Swelling of all or part of the breast, even if no lump is felt
- Skin irritation or dimpling
- A lump or swelling in the underarm lymph nodes
When Should You See A Doctor
After you know what your breasts normally look and feel like, any changes should be checked by a doctor. Changes may include:
- Any new lump. It may or may not be painful to touch.
- Unusual thick areas.
- Sticky or bloody discharge from your nipples.
- Any changes in the skin of your breasts or nipples, such as puckering or dimpling.
- An unusual increase in the size of one breast.
- One breast unusually lower than the other.
Remember that most breast problems or changes are caused by something other than cancer.
Even if you choose to do breast self-examinations, talk to your doctor about having regular mammograms as well as regular breast checkups at your doctor’s office or the mammogram centre.
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Make Sure There Is No:
- difference in the size or girth of one breast compared to the other or your previous observations from a previous examination.
- lump or thickening under the skin that your fingers can touch.
- Unprecedented wrinkles in the skin of the breast.
- kind of blood or fluid, except milk for a nursing mother, comes out of the nipple.
- If the nipple has turned inward and you cannot take it out.
- If there is peeling skin around or on the nipple.
- If there is a lump anywhere in the area extending from the armpits to the abdomen, even if it is not painful when pressed.
What Kind Of Lumps Are Normal In Breasts
Most breast lumps are benign, which means theyre not cancer. Benign breast lumps usually have smooth edges and can be moved slightly when you push against them. They are often found in both breasts. There are several common causes, including normal changes in breast tissue, breast infections, or injury.
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What Is Fat Necrosis
Fat necrosis is a condition in which painless, round, firm lumps caused by damaged and disintegrating fatty tissues form in the breast tissue. Fat necrosis often occurs in women with very large breasts or who have had a bruise or blow to the breast. This condition may also be the result of a lumpectomy and radiation from a prior cancerous lump. In some cases, healthcare providers will watch the lump through several menstrual cycles. He or she may want to do a mammogram before deciding whether to remove it. These lumps are not cancerous and they do not increase your risk of cancer.
How Can I Maintain Good Breast Health
Pay attention to your body. If you notice changes or something feels off, talk to your healthcare provider. Ways to keep your breasts healthy:
- Be aware of breast changes and report any concerns to your healthcare provider.
- Talk to your healthcare provider about screening options.
- Know your breast density and how it may affect your mammogram.
- Report changes in your family history to your provider every year.
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Large Lump In Right Breast
I found a large lump in my right breast that is firm to touch and has some skin puckering where the lump is located. I saw my GP on 11th and she was concerned it could be something and has referred me to the breast clinic. I have an appointment on 2nd December but I’m already thinking the worst and am struggling with the wait as I just want to know what this is! I have had some back pain previous to finding the lump which is an awful burning sensation that is much worse at night. The GP thinks this is a water infection but I really don’t think this is the case. How do I stop over thinking it all so I can get to this appointment without thinking the absolute worst.
How To Check Your Breasts For Lumps
First of all, get comfy.
Theres no set rules for how you do this but it can help doing it in the shower or bath with soapy hands.
Youll also want to do your checks in front of a mirror to make sure youre getting the best view.
The NHS recommends to first understand what normal looks like for you so that its easier to spot when anything doesnt look right.
Use your fingers to feel each breast, armpit and towards the collarbone.
Make sure to have a look and feel in different positions, with your arms down by your side, raised in the air, or lying down.
Remember, your breasts can feel different at different times of the month. The more often you self-examine, the better youll understand your body and how it feels.
Taking the pill or hormone-based medication, having implants, being pregnant, and breastfeeding can also affect how your breasts are feeling.
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Sudden Painful Lump In Breast
As we all know women undergo a lot of life changes which affect the normal appearance of the breasts. During puberty, menstrual cycle and perimenopause period, there are increased hormonal activities in a womans body which may result in an abrupt development of a painful lump in breast. Other more activities can as well result in a sudden development of a lump on your breast such as pressure exerted on the breast by the bra line.Most of the causes of breast lumps that we have talked above can result in a sudden development of a bump on the breast. What you have to be keen with is the other symptoms that are associated with the breast lump.
What Changes Am I Looking For
Always consult a doctor if you notice any of the following changes:
- A new lump, bumpy area, swelling or thickening in one breast or armpit thats different to the same area on the other side
- A change in the size, outline or shape of your breast
- A change in the look or feel of your skin, such as puckering or dimpling
- Nipple discharge
- Bleeding from your nipple
- A rash or redness on or around the nipple area or a sore that doesnt heal
- Any change in the position of the nipple eg: becomes inverted, or is pointing differently
- Any new discomfort or pain in the breast
Checking your breasts for lumps monthly will help you to become aware of how they look and feel, says Dr Rosen. Its perfectly normal, for example, to have one breast thats slightly bigger than the other. Most women have slightly asymmetrical breasts. What youre looking for is anything thats not normal for you. This means any changes and symptoms that werent there before.
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How To Identify A Lump In A Breast
This article was medically reviewed by Lacy Windham, MD. Dr. Windham is a board certified Obstetrician & Gynecologist in Tennessee. She attended medical school at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis and completed her residency at the Eastern Virginia Medical School in 2010, where she was awarded the Most Outstanding Resident in Maternal Fetal Medicine, Most Outstanding Resident in Oncology, and Most Outstanding Resident Overall.There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 398,445 times.
Experts agree that lumps in your breasts are often benign, so try not to worry if you feel a lump. It’s normal to be concerned, so you likely want to get a lump checked out immediately.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source Research suggests that lumps are more likely to be serious if you also have changes to your breast, like dimpled skin, unusual nipple discharge, or your nipple turning inward.XTrustworthy SourceNational Health Service Public healthcare system of the UKGo to source If you think you might have a lump, talk to your doctor so you can get treatment right away if you need it.
Which Breast Lumps Should Women Worry About
Breast lumps are frightening, but fairly common. And while you already know that a lump could potentially signal breast cancer, you’ve probably also heard that most lumps are noncancerous, or benign.
So how can you tell if a breast lump needs to be checked out by a doctor?
“All breast lumps need to be evaluated by a physician, regardless of your age or where in your breast you feel the lump,” says Dr. Joshi. “More often than not, breast lumps are harmless. But, any lump could potentially be breast cancer, and it’s impossible for a woman to determine whether her lump is cancerous or benign just by feeling it.”
That being said, Dr. Joshi says that there are some features that make a lump particularly concerning, including:
- Changes in the skin over the lump
- Nipple changes, including enlargement or bloody discharge
- Changes in the size of the lump
“Additionally, having a family history of breast cancer makes it more likely that a lump could be cancerous,” warns Dr. Joshi.
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British Columbia Specific Information
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women in British Columbia. Breast cancer can occur in men as well, but it is not as common. Tests and treatments for breast cancer vary from person to person, and are based on individual circumstances. Certain factors such as your age, family history, or a previous breast cancer diagnosis may increase your risk of developing breast cancer. For information about your specific risk factors, speak with your health care provider.
A number of screening methods, including mammograms in women, can help find and diagnose breast cancer. The decision to have a mammogram or use any other screening method may be a difficult decision for some women. While screening for breast cancer is often recommended, it is not mandatory. Speak with your health care provider for information regarding how to get screened, the facts and myths about screening tests, how to maintain your breast health, and to get help making an informed decision.
For more information about breast cancer and breast cancer screening, visit:
If you have questions about breast cancer or medications, speak with your health care provider or call 8-1-1 to speak with a registered nurse or pharmacist. Our nurses are available anytime, every day of the year, and our pharmacists are available every night from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m.
What Should I Do If I Find A Lump
Donât panic. It could be many things other than cancer. But do check in with your doctorâs office if you notice any new breast changes, such as:
- An area that is different from any other area on either breast
- A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm that lasts through your menstrual cycle
- A change in the size, shape, or contour of the breast
- A mass or lump
- A marble-like area under the skin
- A change in the feel or appearance of the skin on the breast or nipple
- Bloody or clear fluid discharge from the nipples
- Redness of the skin on the breast or nipple
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Know What Is Normal For You
It’s important to know what is normal for you. Your breasts will go through many normal changes during your life. For example, they are affected by changes in your hormones during your menstrual cycle, pregnancy and breast-feeding and menopause.
- Your menstrual cycle: Each month, when you are having periods, your breasts often change. They can become bigger, tender and lumpy usually before a period starts and return to normal once the period is over. Some women, however, may have tender, lumpy breasts throughout their cycle.
- Pregnancy and breast-feeding: The changes that occur during your menstrual cycle continue during pregnancy. While breast-feeding, your breasts may be very enlarged, firm and tender this is normal at this time. However, you should continue to check your breasts and discuss any unusual changes with your GP.
- Menopause: After the menopause your breasts will feel softer and they may get bigger or smaller. If there is a change in only one breast, you should discuss this with your doctor. HRT hormone replacement therapy may cause your breasts to feel firmer and quite tender.
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What Should I Do If I Find A Lump While Breastfeeding
Breast cancer in women of childbearing age is not common, and lumps found while breastfeeding are likely to be benign. Breast changes while nursing are normal and may include a clogged milk duct or mastitis. However, it is important to report any new lump to your doctor to make sure it is benign and get treatment to help alleviate any discomfort.