It is important that every woman is breast aware. This means knowing what is normal for you so that if any unusual change occurs, you will recognise it. The sooner you notice a change the better, because if cancer is found early, treatment is more likely to be successful. Get into the habit of looking at and feeling your breasts from time to time.
Changes to be aware of:
- change in size or shape – it may be that one breast has become larger
- changes in the nipple – in direction or shape, pulled in or flattened nipple
- changes on or around the nipple – rash, flaky or crusted skin
- changes in the skin – dimpling, puckering or redness
- change in appearance of skin caused by unusually enlarged pores (orange peel)
- swelling in your armpit or around your collarbone
- a lump, any size, or thickening in your breast
- constant pain in one part of your breast or armpit
Before any operation make sure that you have discussed it fully with your surgeon. Remember, no operation or procedure will be done without your consent.
For many women it is now possible to have a smaller operation to conserve the breast rather than a mastectomy. This is known as breast conserving surgery. All breast surgery, however, will leave some type of scar, and the cosmetic effect depends on the technique used. You may like to discuss with your doctor or nurse beforehand what your breast will look like after surgery.
We hope that it will help you to talk about any concerns you might have with your cancer specialist or chemotherapy nurse and enable you to take part in your treatment plan. You will also be given relevant information about your particular treatment by the team treating you at the hospital or unit.
Radiotherapy is one of the treatments that patients with breast cancer may be offered.
We hope this will help you discuss your radiotherapy treatment with the doctors, nurses and therapeutic radiographers involved in your care. It is important to understand that there may be some differences between radiotherapy centres. Remember not to compare treatments with other patients, as each person’s treatment plan is tailor-made for them as an individual.