Detecting breast cancer early can mean that treatment is more effective.
Knowing what your breasts normally feel like will help you to be aware of any abnormal changes.
However, not all changes are a sign of breast cancer. Some women have cysts or thickening of the breast tissue, which is normal.
According to Cancer Research UK, 9 out of 10 breast lumps are not cancer.
Read more about causes of breast lumps.
Learn what your breasts look and feel like. Their appearance and feel can change at different times of the menstrual cycle.
The milk-producing tissue in the breast becomes active in the days before a period starts.
Some women find that their breasts feel tender and lumpy at this time, especially near the armpits.
After a hysterectomy (removal of the womb) , the breasts usually show the same monthly changes until the time your periods would have stopped naturally.
After the menopause, activity in the milk-producing tissue stops. Normal breasts can feel soft, less firm and not lumpy.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) says that being breast aware means:
Be aware of the following changes in your breasts that could signal breast cancer:
If you notice any of these changes , see your doctor.
Watch videos of women talking about their breast cancer symptoms.
Watch videos of men talking about their breast cancer symptoms.
Many women worry that breast pain may be a sign of a serious condition. However, breast pain by itself is not a symptom of breast cancer, and breast pain does not increase your risk of developing breast cancer.
Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.