Breast cancer is not one single disease. There are several types of breast cancer. It can be diagnosed at different stages of development and can grow at different rates. Rarely, it can be diagnosed in men as well as women.

How do I check my breasts?

There’s no right or wrong way to check your breasts. Try to get used to looking at and feeling your breasts regularly. Remember to check all parts of your breast, your armpits and up to your collarbone.

What changes should I look and feel for?

Nobody knows your body like you do,so you’re the best person to notice any unusual changes.

  • Changes in size or shape.
  • Changes in skin texture such as puckering or dimpling.
  • Inverted nipple.
  • A lump or thickening of breast tissue.
  • Redness or a rash on the skin/around the nipple.
  • Discharge from one or both nipples.
  • Constant pain in breast or armpit.
  • Swelling in armpit/around collarbone.

For free, confidential support and information visit or call our Helpline on 0808 800 6000.

The facts

  • The number of people being diagnosed with breast cancer is increasing, but the good news is survival rates are improving. This is probably because of more targeted treatments, earlier detection and better breast awareness.
  • The biggest risk factor, after gender, is increasing age – 80% of breast cancers occur in women over the age of 50.
  • Breast cancer also affects men, but it’s rare – around 300 men are diagnosed each year.
  • Breast cancer is not one single disease there are several types of breast cancer.
  • Not all breast cancers show as a lump, and not all breast lumps are breast cancer.
  • Less than 10% of breast cancer runs in families, so having someone in your family with breast cancer doesn’t necessarily mean your own risk is increased.

The stats

  • Around 50,000 new cases of invasive and non-invasive (DCIS)* breast cancer are diagnosed each year in the UK. This October around 4,000 people will receive the devastating news they have breast cancer.
  • Nearly 12,000 people die from breast cancer in the UK every year.**
  • Breast cancer is the second biggest cause of death from cancer for women in the UK, after lung cancer.
  • There are an estimated 550,000 people living in the UK today who have had a diagnosis of breast cancer.**
  • In women under the age of 35, breast cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer.

* Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is an early form of breast cancer, sometimes described as anintra-ductal or non-invasive cancer. ** This refers to invasive breast cancer. Statistics correct at time of publication.

Categories: Health, News

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