How to be breast aware?
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Qatar, so it is important to be breast aware. This means you should get to know the way your breasts look and feel. Your breasts may change shape and size at different times of the month. If you get to know what is normal for you, changes that are not normal can be identified with confidence. More often than not, any changes found will not be cancer. However, it is important to make an appointment with your primary care doctor as soon as possible to be certain. If it is breast cancer, the sooner it is found, the more effective the treatment can be.I. Checking your breasts
You should regularly check your breasts for changes. This can be done in any way that feels comfortable to you. This can be while you are getting dressed or in the shower or bath.Remember:
Check all parts of your breast, from your armpits up to and around your collarbone.a. Changes to look for include
- A change in size or shape which is not normal for you
- Redness or a rash on the skin and/or around the nipple
- Discharge from one or both of your nipples
- A lump or thickening that feels different from the rest of the breast tissue
- A change in skin texture such as puckering or dimpling (like orange skin)
- If your nipple becomes inverted (pulled in) or changes position or shape
- A lump or pain in the underarm/armpit
If you find any changes to your breasts that are not normal to you, you should make an appointment with your doctor, even if you have recently been screened.b. When to see a doctor?
If you notice any changes to your breast that are not normal to you, you should make an appointment with your primary care doctor as soon as possible. If you feel more comfortable with a female doctor, please let the primary care center know when you make your appointment.
Most breast changes will not be anything serious but it is important to know what is causing the change even if it is not cancer. If it is cancer, the earlier it is found, the more effective the treatment can be.Remember:
You are not wasting anyone’s time. It is important that you see a doctor.c. Family History
A small number of breast cancer cases do run in the family. If you know that you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, do let your doctor know.II. Reducing your risk of developing cancer
We don’t know exactly what causes breast cancer but we do know that being female and getting older are the main risk factors. You may help to reduce your risk and look after your general health by:
III. 5 key points to remember
- Eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Taking regular exercise and not smoking or consuming any tobacco products (cigarettes, shisha, snuff, and chewing tobacco).
1. Know what is normal for you.
2. Know what changes to look for.
3. Regularly look at and feel your breasts.
4. Make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible if you notice any changes that are not normal to you.
5. If you are 45 years old or above, make an appointment to start your breast screening.