What to look out for
Most women know that a lump can be a sign of breast cancer. Lumps can be found anywhere in your breasts, armpit or around your collarbone. If you do find one it doesn't necessarily mean you have cancer. However, you do need to get it looked at by your doctor – just to rule it out.
Of course, your breasts will look and feel different at different times of your life but if you’re worried about a change, see your doctor. After all, breast cancer is much more treatable these days and the earlier it’s found, the easier it is to treat. You can even download an app that will remind you to do it at a time that suits you.
Signs and symptoms
Below are some of the other signs and symptoms to look out for.
Skin like orange peel
Nipple becomes turned in
Bleeding or crusty nipples
As well as looking out for the signs and symptoms above, it’s important to keep an eye out for your breast screening invite coming through your letterbox. All women between 50 and 70 are invited for breast screening every three years.
Breast screening could save your life.Find out more on breast screening
A specialist's view
Breast cancer remains the most common cancer in Scottish women but it’s also very treatable when caught early. The best way of doing this? Regularly checking your breasts for any changes and attending breast screening.
Attending breast screening is, of course, a woman’s personal choice. You may be reading this, feeling nervous or anxious about an upcoming appointment, or unsure whether to even attend. To help you, I’d suggest reading the NHS ‘helping you decide’ leaflet that’s full of facts and useful Q&As. Watching Elaine C Smith having her recent mammogram on the site will also help you know what to expect.
Women over the age of 50 are at an increased risk of breast cancer – if this is you, compare your breasts to the images on this site and visit your GP if you have any worries or concerns at all.
Dr Hilary Dobson, Breast Radiologist at the West of Scotland Breast Cancer Screening Service
1 in 8 women in Scotland will develop breast cancer but, if found early enough, it is treatable. Lots of women do survive it. In fact, you’re five times more likely to survive breast cancer if it’s caught in its earliest stage.
Breast screening alone saves around 130 lives every year in Scotland, helping pick up tiny cancers that can’t be seen or felt, often when they are less advanced.
As well as regularly attending screening appointments, it’s important for women to continue to check their breasts for any changes. Only then do you have the best chance of being diagnosed early and surviving breast cancer.
If you do notice any changes in your breasts, it's important to see your GP. There's no need to feel embarrassed as your doctor is there to help you but if you would prefer, you can request to be seen by a female doctor or practice nurse. You could even take a friend along with you - the most important thing is to get checked.
- 1 in 8 women in Scotland will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
- You’re five times more likely to survive breast cancer if it’s caught in its earliest stage.
- Breast screening saves around 130 lives every year in Scotland. It only takes about 10 minutes and could save your life.
- Breast screening detects tiny cancers, when they are often less advanced and easier to treat.
Getting checked – what's involved?
Some people put off visiting their GP practice because they think they’ll be wasting their time. Your doctor won’t think that – they want to see you if you’re worried about potential symptoms. The symptoms might not be due to cancer. But if it is, the earlier its picked up the higher the chance of successful treatment.
It’s always best to get checked early. Your concerns will be listened to and depending on your symptoms they will:
- Be able to reassure you;
- Examine the area you are concerned about;
- Refer you to the hospital for further tests if necessary.
Do you know the common signs and symptoms to look out for?
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