SummaryRead the full fact sheet
- Be familiar with the normal look and feel of your breasts. Every person’s body is different, so it is good to know what is normal for your body.
- If you notice any unusual changes to your breasts, it is important to see your doctor as soon as possible.
- Often the changes are not breast cancer. It is best to check with your doctor anyway.
- If you are a woman aged between 50 and 74, have a screening mammogram at BreastScreen every two years.
On this page
Breast cancer can cause changes in your body and changes in how you feel. These are called signs or symptoms. Anyone can get breast cancer, including men, but it is not as common for men to get breast cancer. It is important for everyone to be aware of breast cancer signs and symptoms.
Every person’s body is different, so it is good to know what is normal for your body. This includes the look and feel of your breasts.
In this information, the word breast means breasts or chests and is relevant for all people. You can choose the language you are most comfortable with.
You can check your own breasts for changes. There is no right or wrong way to check your breasts. Find a way that works for you.
Breast cancer can cause changes in your
- and the skin in these areas.
Often the changes are not breast cancer. It is best to check with your doctor anyway.
Talk to your doctor as soon as possible if
• you notice any changes
• you are worried.
If you have questions about breast cancer, you can call Cancer Council on Tel. 13 11 20 and speak to a cancer nurse.
Checking your breasts
It’s important to be familiar with the look and feel of your breasts and to know what’s normal for you. That way you are more likely to notice any unusual changes.
These tips may help you to check your breasts for changes:
- Use a mirror to get to know the usual look and shape of your breasts.
- Become familiar with how your breasts feel at different times of the month. You might find this easiest in the shower or bath, lying in bed, or getting dressed.
- Feel everything from your collarbone to under your breasts and under your armpit.
- Feel near the surface and deeper in the breast.
People of all ages should be familiar with their breasts, but it becomes more important as you get older because the risk of breast cancer increases with age.
Things you can look for:
- a lump or lumps in your breast or armpit
- changes in the skin of your breast – dimpling, puckering or redness
- nipple changes – pointing in when it used to point out, or unusual discharge
- an area that feels different to the rest
- unusual pain.
If you notice any of these changes you should go and see your doctor as soon as possible. Many of these changes are not breast cancer, but it is best to talk to your doctor about what is happening for you.
Some people have a regular test for breast cancer called a breast screen. It is also called a mammogram.
A breast screen is an x-ray picture of the breast.
There are other types of tests for breast cancer, but you need to talk to your doctor to see if these tests are needed for you.
Why is a breast screen important?
Breast screens can find cancers that are too small to see or feel. This is sometimes called finding breast cancer early. Treatment is more likely to work when you find breast cancer early.
Breast screening is for
- trans and gender diverse people.
Usually, if you are aged 50-74, you need a breast screen every 2 years. Ask your doctor if you need a regular breast screen, if you don’t already have one.
You can find out more from BreastScreen Victoria on Tel. 13 20 50
Most people who have a breast screen do not have breast cancer. Talk to your doctor if you are not sure if you need a breast screen or if you are worried.
Where to get help
- Your GP (doctor)
- Cancer Council Information and Support Service. Tel. 13 11 20
- Cancer Council Victoria. – Support in your own language Tel. 13 14 50
- Cancer Council Victoria, My Cancer Guide - Find support services that are right for you.
- BreastScreen Victoria. Tel. 13 20 50
- Breast Cancer Network Australia. Tel. 1800 500 258