I’ve been prompted to write about the signs of breast cancer thanks to a recent media campaign running in the UK. Supported by Breakthrough Breast Cancer, one of the UK’s leading charities and information/support groups, the campaign is called TLC – oh so beautifully simple and easy to remember. TLC stands for TOUCH, LOOK, CHECK. This is based on the fact that most cases of breast cancer are the result of women contacting their doctor after noticing changes in their breasts. And, as there is a greater chance of treating and beating breast cancer the earlier it is diagnosed, the initiative to be able to report changes to your doctor comes from regularly checking yourself. I cannot stress enough how you can only know if there are changes by being breast aware. It’s all very well knowing the signs of breast cancer, but how do you know if you have the symptoms or if your breasts have always been that way unless you regularly examine them? Back to TLC, this is the moniker given to remind us of the basics of a breast self-examination.
TOUCH – Your breasts all over. Get to know them. Once you get used to the regular feel of your breasts, you should be able to spot anything unusual or irregular.
LOOK – Visually examine your breasts for outward signs of changes in texture, shape or color
CHECK – Report any abnormalities or fears to your doctor as soon as possible.
Nobody else knows your breasts like you. You are best placed to identify any changes, but what are the signs of breast cancer you should be looking for?
The TLC Campaign tells us there are 5 signs of breast cancer to watch for. The first of them is lumps. When you first start examining your breasts, they will feel lumpy and bumpy. This is normal and is the natural breast tissue. By getting used to the regular consistency, you should be able to feel a growth or lump should it occur. Lumpy areas may also be painful.