Be breast aware
Being breast aware is about knowing what your breasts look and feel like. Checking them regularly can help you detect when something changes.
Any changes may be harmless, but you should get them checked by your GP straightaway.
Things you should look out for are:
any lumps, thickening or bumpy areas in your breast or armpit
changes in appearance or shape of your breast, like puckered or dimpled skin
discomfort or pain that's unusual, particularly if it is new and persistent
changes to your nipple like discharge, a rash, red areas that won’t heal, or a change in your nipple position (pointing differently or pulled in).
You can develop breast cancer at any time. For women of screening age, this can include the time in between breast screening appointments.
If you notice any changes in your breasts that are not normal for you, speak to your GP straightaway.
Breast cancer symptoms on NHS Choices website
Signs and symptoms of breast cancer on Breast Cancer Now website
How to reduce your risk
Breast cancer is not a preventable disease. However, you can help lower your risk of breast cancer in the following ways:
register for breast screening when you reach 50 and regularly attend your breast screening appointments if you're aged between 50 to 69
be breast aware – check your breasts regularly
maintain a healthy weight - increased body weight and weight gain as an adult are linked with a higher risk of breast cancer after menopause
exercise regularly - studies have shown that regular exercise can reduce your risk of developing breast cancer by as much as a third
reduce the amount of alcohol you drink - even low levels of alcohol intake have been linked with an increase in risk
stopping smoking - smokers are at increased risk of breast cancer, along with many other types of cancer
breastfeed your babies, where possible - studies have shown that women who breastfeed are less likely to develop breast cancer than those who don't
talk to your GP if you think you have a family history of breast cancer
The breast screening programme and how to make an appointment
Breast cancer: family history check
Breast cancer prevention on NHS Choices website
Stop smoking with the Help2Quit stop smoking service