If you are familiar with the way your breasts look and feel it will make it easier to notice if any changes occur. From your 20s onwards do the following checks once a month.
|What to do||Why|
A visual check of your breasts will help you to see:
|Next||Feel your breasts while you are under the shower.||This is personal choice but some women like to feel their breasts when they are wet and slippery as it helps them to notice any changes.|
Feel your breasts while lying down with your arm bent at the elbow and resting above your head. Stretch your hands so your palms and fingers are flat like a plate – this will allow you to feel without poking your breasts.
Make sure you feel the entire breast area from your collarbone to your tummy and include your armpits.
This will allow you to feel without poking your breasts. It is another helpful way to look for:
If you detect a new lump, don't panic. Research shows that 9 in 10 breast lumps are not cancer.
When to see your doctor
You should see your doctor about:
- new lumps
- new lumpiness
- changes in the shape of your breast
- changes in the colour of your breast
- changes in the nipple
- discharge from your nipple
- any persistent breast pain
Breast X-ray screening can show breast changes that are too small for you or your doctor to feel.
|Your age||When to have a mammogram||Other information|
|Younger than 40 years||Regular screening mammograms are not recommended.||
|40-49 years||BreastScreen Australia offers free screening mammograms every two years.||
Reminders to have a screening may not be sent to you – it depends which state you live in.
|70 years or older||
Whether you have a screening mammogram will depend on:
If you have breast implants screening is not harmful, so you should have the screening suitable for your age. Let your doctor know you have implants before your referral.
Arranging a mammogram
BreastScreen is for women who have no obvious breast symptoms. If you are concerned about a breast lump or tenderness, see your doctor first.
To arrange a mammogram (no referral is necessary) visit BreastScreen Australia.
Last updated 05 June 2018 — Last reviewed 30 January 2014
** Currently under review **
This web page is designed to be informative and educational. It is not intended to provide specific medical advice or replace advice from your health practitioner. The information above is based on current medical knowledge, evidence and practice as at January 2014.