Notice any changes

It is very important to look out for breast changes and get them checked as soon as possible. Remember though that most women with breast complaints do not have breast cancer.

What to look for


  • Lump in the breast or armpit
  • Lumpy area or unusual thickening of breast tissue that stays after your period
  • Size or shape- e.g. one breast might become larger or lower than the other
  • Skin texture - such as puckers or dimples
  • Swelling, redness or a rash on the breast
  • Pain in part of the breast or armpit that is unrelated to your period


  • Turned-in, pulled up or down
  • Blood-stained liquid from one or both nipples
  • Rash or crusting of the nipple or surrounding area.

Breast Self Examination (BSE) has been shown in scientific studies not to be effective but Breast Awareness (BA) is recommended.

See the Action Breast Cancer site

Also Breakthrough Breast Cancer:

For a statement on BSE see: National Breast Cancer Coalition

Download & print this guide

Irish Breast Cancer Charter9 things you should know about breast cancer (PDF 478KB)