Breast cancer affects around 55,000 people in the UK each year, according to charity Breast Cancer Care, and of these around 350 are men. Just over 80% of cases are in people aged over 50.
Survival rates are generally good, providing you have spotted the signs early enough. Most women know they should be checking their breasts regularly, but it’s not always obvious what you’re looking for.
“It’s really important that women of all ages check their breasts regularly and get to know what’s normal for them,” says Breast Cancer Care’s senior clinical nurse specialist Rachel Rawson.
“It’s not just about a lump – other symptoms can also be important to spot, such as puckering or dimpling of the skin, a nipple becoming inverted or a constant pain in the breast or armpit.”
How to check your breasts
Checking your breasts doesn’t need to take long. It’s something you can do in the shower or bath, or when you’re applying body lotion or getting dressed – whenever suits you. But remember to check all parts of your breast, your armpits and up to your collarbone.
“Anyone who notices any unusual changes should visit their GP without delay,” says Rawson. “Most breast changes aren’t due to breast cancer, but the sooner breast cancer is diagnosed, the more effective treatment may be.”
For more information, visit www.breastcancercare.org.uk or call for support on 0808 800 6000.