Love yourself, Check your boobs!

At Killing Kittens we celebrate boobs of all shapes and sizes, they really are the best things ever! And as this is Breast Cancer Awareness Month we thought we would be serious for just a minute, talk boobs and how to look after our precious hooters.

The Stats

Nearly 56,000 British women are diagnosed with Breast cancer every year. 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed at some point in their lifetime and 1 in 5 of these women will be under the age of 50. Even though it is uncommon, men can get breast cancer too with around 350 men being diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the UK, including around 30 in Scotland.

Checking your boobs at home, (not just a quick fumble but a real check) for abnormalities could help you spot the symptoms early and really could save your life. So go on, get them out, and get to know your breasts and check them for yourself. Help to raise awareness with friends and family and remind them to check their boobs regularly. Don’t forget that breast cancer also affects men, so remind the men in your life to check theirs too.

There are no right or wrong ways to check your boobs, but it’s important to know what they usually look like, in order to know if they have changed and report it to your GP. So get taking selfies with those boobs! (…any excuse lol). Every woman’s boobs are different, size, shapes, consistency and each boob can be different, for example, it’s quite common for one to be bigger than the other. They can also feel different at different times of the month, such as during your menstrual cycle, breasts can become tender and lumpy, especially around the armpit. After the menopause, breasts can feel softer, less firm and not as lumpy.

The recommendation is to check your boobs as often as you can but at least once a month, you can even make it into a bit of fun by getting your partner to help. Try and make it a daily routine to check them whilst in the shower or bath, by running a soapy hand over each boob and under each armpit, to feel for anything new. Also look at your boobs in the mirror, with your arms by your side and also with them raised to spot any irregularities. Lumps are vital to look out for but more often than not they are benign, so there are other important signs and symptoms to check for too.

What to check for

If you are considering Breast Augmentation surgery but you’re concerned about breast cancer, you can discuss this in depth with your surgeon at your consultation. Our plastic surgeons have a vast knowledge of the condition due to working with breast cancer survivors and performing reconstruction surgeries post cancer treatment. They will be able to answer any questions you may have and also give you advice on how to check your breasts correctly. There is no link to indicate that having breast implants will increase your chances of contracting breast cancer. Make an appointment with your GP if you notice any of the following changes:

  • A change in size, outline or shape of your
  • A change in the look or feel of your skin, such as dimpling.
  • A new lump, thickening or bumpy area in one breast or armpit that is different from the same area on the other side.
  • Nipple discharge that’s not milky.
  • Bleeding from your nipple.
  • A moist, red area on your nipple that doesn’t easily heal.
  • Any change in nipple position, such as your nipple being easily pulled in or pointing differently.
  • A rash on or around your nipple.
  • Any discomfort or pain in one breast, especially if its new pain and doesn’t go away (pin is only a symptom of breast cancer in rare cases.)

Risk Factors

The biggest risk factors for Breast cancer are age, genetics, and lifestyle. At least four out of five breast cancers occur in women over the age of 50. Women in the United Kingdom aged 50 and over are entitled to free breast screening, a mammogram. These can still be done if you have had breast augmentation. You should get your first appointment between your 50th and 53rd birthdays. You will then receive invitations every three years until you reach 70. If for some reason you do not get an invitation to your breast screening book an appointment to discuss it with your GP.

If there is a strong family history of breast cancer within your family, it may be because you have a faulty gene. There are several gene faults and being a carrier of these genes could increase your chances of developing breast cancer, but it is not a certainty. Most breast cancers happen by chance and only about 3% are due to an inherited cancer gene. If someone in your family has a history of breast cancer, it is recommended that you discuss this with your GP. If your general practitioner considers you to be at risk because of your family history, they may recommend you for genetic testing.

Women who are overweight after their menopause have a higher risk of breast cancer than women who are not. Men also have an increased risk of breast cancer if they are overweight or obese. Being overweight means having a body mass index (BMI) of between 25 and 30. Obesity means being very overweight with a BMI of 30 or higher.

Smoking and drinking alcohol could also increase your chances of contracting breast cancer. It is advised that you give up smoking and follow the government guidelines on the consumption of alcohol levels to decrease your chances.

Early detection really could save your life, so get out those boobies, have a good look and feel, and get to know them better!

For more information on breast cancer please visit   Breast Cancer Care or Cancer Research

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