8 breast changes you should tell your doctor about

Once you're aware of what's normal for your breasts, you're more likely to notice when something has changed.
By Terri Coles
breast Masterfile

My great-grandmother died of metastasized breast cancer, and my aunt was diagnosed about a few years ago but is recovering because it was found in time, so I'm very aware of the need to stay on top of breast health. The problem is that our lives are so busy, and sometimes a few weeks can pass by really quickly. How do you make sure you check your breasts regularly for changes when it's hard to remember what you had for dinner last night?

Rethink Breast Cancer has an app that uses a bit of sex appeal to keep breast health fresh in your mind. The recently-revamped Your Man Reminder app allows you to schedule reminders for a regular breast self check — and to choose which attractive gentleman will be letting you know it's time to do the exam. It also contains helpful information like what to look for when checking your breasts and options for screening. The app is available free on iTunes and Android.

Current Canadian guidelines for breast screening include talking to your doctor once you turn 40 about your risk of breast cancer and having a mammogram every two to three years once you turn 50.

When you're aware of what's normal for your breasts, you're more likely to notice when something has changed, which can be a sign of a problem. Here are Rethink's eight changes to look for when checking your breasts:

  • Lump: A lump or hard knot in the breast or armpit
  • Lumpy area: Bumpiness or unusual thickening that doesn’t go away after your period
  • Pain: Pain in one spot on the breast or armpit that’s not associated with your period
  • Size and shape: One breast might become larger or lower than the other
  • Skin texture: Puckering or dimpling of the skin
  • Appearance or direction of nipple: One nipple might become inverted (turned in)
  • Discharge: Nipple excretes a blood-stained liquid (in one or both breasts)
  • Rash or crusting: An itchy sore or scaling area on or around the nipple



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