Breast check 101: a potentially life-saving part of your routine

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Making a breast check part of your weekly routine could save your life

Image by Angiola Harry via Unsplash

October marks Breast Cancer Awareness month, and while that may still be a month away, the tragic death of Sarah Harding has many sharing advice on how to detect early signs of breast cancer. The former Girls Aloud singer passed away on Sunday having grappled with the disease in the past year.

When it comes to breast cancer, early detection is key, as when it is diagnosed early, the five-year prognosis is almost 94%.

Checking your breasts is recommended for anyone with breast tissue – which can include people of all genders. The process is easy and can be done anywhere (the shower, the living room, just maybe not the garden!)


Performing a breast check involves looking and feeling for changes in texture. According to the Irish Cancer Society, these are the changes in your breasts to be aware of:

  • A change in size or shape
  • Changes in the nipple
  • Changes on or around the nipple
  • ‘Orange peel’ appearance of the skin caused by unusually enlarged pores
  • Swelling in your armpit or around your collarbone
  • A lump, any size, or thickening in your breast
  • Constant pain in one part of your breast or armpit

The most important thing is learning what is normal so that any abnormality is noticed early. That’s why breast checks should be regular – if anything is different, you’ll notice right away. It is worth noting that it’s recommended those who menstruate avoid checking their breasts right before a period, as there can be lumps and changes of texture that are purely hormonal.

CoppaFeel is a UK-based charity, one of many groups campaigning for breast cancer awareness and prevention globally. Take a look at their post below, which outlines how to perform your own breast check.

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A post shared by CoppaFeel! (@coppafeelpeople)

Get to know your boobs, make sure you attend any scheduled mammograms, and encourage your friends to do the same. Taking these small steps can help ensure you notice any changes quickly, and that you can act accordingly. A regular breast check is a small addition to your routine, but it is one that just might save your life.

Rest in peace Sarah Harding.