Teach Me

Why Breast Self-Awareness Is Important

For years, you’ve been told of the importance of monthly breast self-checks as a means of early breast cancer detection. Make no mistake – being on the lookout for changes to your breasts is very important as the best chance of surviving breast cancer is through early detection. When found early, there is a 96% chance for a cure.

But before focusing on technique and doing your breast self-exam the “right way,” it’s also important that you’re familiar with your breasts so that you’ll notice any changes and report them to your doctor right away.

Breast Self-Awareness: What to Look For

True or false: breast cancer always presents first with a lump in the breast. False. While a lump may be a first indication of breast cancer, it’s not the only breast cancer symptom.

When it comes to breast self-awareness, Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center gives you symptoms that you can look for:

  • A lump or mass in your breast
  • Swelling in or around your breast, collarbone or armpit
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in your armpit
  • Changes in breast size, shape, skin texture or color
  • Skin redness in the breast area
  • Dimpling or puckering of breast skin
  • Nipple changes or discharge
  • Scaliness on nipple (sometimes extending to the areola)
  • A nipple pulling to one side or a change in direction

It’s important to remember that breast cancer symptoms may vary from woman to woman. Any changes you find in your breasts should be promptly reported to a health care provider.

Early detection of breast cancer, whether through breast self-checks or regular mammograms, is critical to having the best chance of survival.

To get more information on early detection and self-checks or to schedule a mammogram, set up an appointment at a Banner Health Imaging Center.

Breast Cancer Cancer