Being breast aware
Breast awareness is about encouraging women to become more aware of their bodies generally and to get to know their own breasts. This is an important issue for all women in their mid-twenties and onwards, as learning how their breasts look and feel at different times will help women know what is normal for them and to recognise any irregular changes.
What should a breast look and feel like?
There is no such thing as a standard breast and what is normal for one woman may not be for another. One woman's breasts will also look and feel different over time depending on the time of the month and the age of the woman.
What about routine self examination?
The Department of Health's policy on breast awareness, which has strong support from the nursing and medical professions, encourages women to check their breasts for what is normal for them but does not recommend routine self examination to a set technique.
There is no scientific evidence to show that a formally taught, ritual self examination, performed at the same time each month, reduces the death rate from breast cancer or is more effective than a more relaxed breast awareness.
Are you being breast aware?
A 'Be Breast Aware' leaftlet, (including web based foreign language versions) produced by the NHS Breast Screening Programme and Cancer Research UK, sets out a five-point plan for women.
- Know what is normal for you
- Look and feel
- Know what changes to look for
- Report any changes without delay
- Attend for breast screening if aged 50 or over
- NHSBSP home page
- Programme publications
About breast screening
- What is breast screening?
- What does the NHS Breast Screening Programme do?
- When was the NHS Breast Screening Programme set up?
- What happens at a breast screening unit?
- Why are women under 50 not routinely invited?
- Are women screened over the age of 70?
- Screening women at higher risk
- Does breast screening save lives?
- Does breast screening have any risks?
- What is Digital Mammography?
- Research in breast screening
- About breast cancer
- Programme logistics
- Frequently asked questions
- Programme statistics
- Mammography equipment reports
- Programme news index
- Useful links