I know, I’ve lured you in with a title suggesting a fun bosom-themed quiz. But now you’re here, expecting to find out what your boobs and man-boobs say about your personality, I’m going to jump at the opportunity to talk about breast cancer.
We’ve put together a Babylon boob gallery to inform everyone of the signs of breast cancer, and when to see a GP.
So come on in, have a browse, give it a share and help make everyone more breast aware.
Breast cancer stats
Breast cancer remains the 2nd most common cancer worldwide, after lung cancer.1 Due to screening and better treatment, two-thirds of women diagnosed with breast cancer in England and Wales now survive for 20 years or more after diagnosis.2
We know from research that picking up breast cancer early significantly increases a person’s chance of survival.3 And although screening is increasingly available worldwide, it’s mostly offered to those deemed to be at the greatest risk (typically women aged over 50 or people with a strong family history of breast cancer).
Unfortunately, 20% of breast cancers occur in women under 504, before women in the UK are invited to attend national screening. And although breast cancer is rare in males, making up 1% of all breast cancer diagnoses, it is important to remind everyone that breast cancer is not a female-only condition.
So. regardless of your age or sex, it is important to be breast aware and have a good understanding of breast changes that warrant booking an appointment with your GP for a check-up.
Our Babylon boob gallery of breast cancer signs
1. New lump
Some breasts are naturally more lumpy than others, and a new lump isn’t necessarily going to be cancerous either. But it isn’t easy to know whether a new lump is anything to worry about or not without it being examined, or sometimes scanned, by a healthcare professional. So if you find a new lump, it is best to have it checked out.
Most breasts are wonky and pretty much everyone has one breast bigger than the other, so the key here is to know what is normal for you. If your breast is swelling or enlarging, have it looked at by your GP.
3. Pitting and dimpling
Commonly called ‘orange peel skin’, because the dimpling looks like pitting on the surface of an orange, this change to your breast tissue can be a sign of breast cancer.
4. Nipple changes
Don’t forget about your nipples. For example, rashes of the nipple or a nipple that starts to be pulled inwards (inverted nipple) can be signs of breast cancer. Between 10% and 20% of women normally have flat or inverted nipples, but if you’ve never had inverted nipples and you see it happening, see your GP.
5. Nipple discharge
Nipple discharge in men is not normal, and warrants a visit to the doctors. In women, one-off nipple discharge is commonly nothing to worry about, however if it happens regularly, is blood-stained or smelly, comes just from one breast or you are aged over 50 - it is best to have your breasts examined.
6. Colour changes
Redness or bruising of the breast (that can’t be explained by an injury) should be seen by a doctor as breast cancer can cause such changes.
7. Armpit swelling
Breast cancer can affect the lymph nodes, many of which lie in the armpit. If you feel a lump or lumps in your armpit, upper chest or neck, it is best to get them checked out.
8. Persistent pain
Breast and chest pain is very common. Pain is frequently due to muscle pains after a rigorous workout, or due to hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle. However breast pain that isn’t improving, or that seems to persist throughout the menstrual cycle should ideally be checked out.
Booking an appointment with your doctor
Don’t let the thought of having your breasts examined put you off speaking to a GP about your worries because the sooner a problem is picked up, the better. The GP will gently examine both breasts and might then refer you to a breast clinic for a breast specialist to look at your breasts in more detail.
You can speak to a Babylon GP for advice on any breast-related concerns and if you are a Babylon GP at Hand NHS patient and need to be examined - you’ll be offered an appointment in one of our face-to-face clinics.