A common concern patients share with me when I’m scanning their breasts, is that it’s difficult to know which lumps are normal and which ones need to be investigated. This is especially troublesome in women with lumpy breasts.
Whilst this is a difficult situation and you should always see your doctor if you’re concerned about something, here’s my advice for getting used to normal vs abnormal breast lumps.
When it comes to checking for lumps, you need to become familiar with what’s normal for you.
In order to do this, you need to check yourself regularly, this is the key! The more you do it, the better accustomed you get to what normal for you is!
If you are pre-menopausal, the best time to check is in the first days after your period has ended. Your breasts will usually be less tender and lumpy at that stage of your cycle. If you’re post-menopausal, get into the habit of checking regularly. It’s easy to forget to check things with our busy lifestyles at home and at work, so setting a repeated reminder on your phone is a handy way to keep you on track.
If you’re just starting out and are not familiar with the natural lumpiness of your breasts, we’ve created a handy Breast Lump Monitoring diagram you can download, print and draw on to mark out where you feel lumps. This will help you get used to what’s normal and if something new appears between month to month. You should also mark down if you see discolourations, changes to your nipple, skin dimpling, or feel odd sensations.
Listen to a discussion with the nurses from Breast Cancer Care UK about normal breast changes and breast examination.
Once you’re familiar with the process and what’s normal for you, this examination won’t take you long but is invaluable in monitoring the health of your breasts.
Share this with the women in your life and ask them if they’ve done their regular checks. You never know, you could save a life by prompting someone to check!