As a younger women, who falls outside of the free mammogram screening ages of 45-69 years, it's important to be breast aware. This means knowing how your breasts normally look and feel and getting any unusual changes checked out. Young women can get breast cancer.
It’s important for all women to maintain a regular self-checking routine both before they start regular mammograms and between times. Good places to check your breasts are:
- In front of a mirror
- In the shower or bath
In front of a mirror:
(a) Place your hands at your sides and look for any changes
(b) Place your hands on your hips and then press your shoulders and elbows forward - look for changes
(c) Raise your arms and clasp your hands above your head - look for changes
In the shower or bath:
With the fingertips of your three middle fingers, use soap to glide over each breast. The way you check your breasts does not matter; there isn’t a right or wrong way. For more information please read our Position Statement on Breast Awareness (PDF, 228Kb). The main thing is to cover your entire breast tissue, from just below your collarbone to under your breast, and from your mid-chest to your ribs at the side of your chest. Also, with each arm by your side, press your fingers firmly up into each armpit. Breast self checks may make some women feel very anxious, while others will feel reassured; they are - very much - a personal choice.
Remember, you're looking for any new or unusual breast changes, not only a lump. If you notice anything different, see your doctor. Your doctor should undertake what's called the triple test on any unusual breast symptoms. If in doubt after visiting your doctor, get a second opinion. Don't sit on your symptoms.