Figures from the NHS show breast cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer in women, with around 12,000 people die from breast cancer each year.
Early detection is the best possible chance of survival and key to this is recognising the signs.
Health chiefs say a simple self-examination once a month can alert you to any abnormalities. Use the pads of your fingers to examine your breast tissue, move around your entire breast in a circular motion and the tissue that extends towards your arm pit.
Changes to look for when carrying out a breast exam include:
- Any change in the size, shape or feel of your breast.
- Any new lumps or thickening in one breast or armpit.
-Puckering, dimpling or redness of the skin, any changes in the position of the nipple or nipple discharge.
Dr Doug Black, medical director for Nottighamshire in NHS England, said: “Each woman is an expert on their own body – the changes you go through or anything new and out of the ordinary.
“Therefore being ‘breast aware’ is about taking care of you and a part of that is self-examination.
“If you find a lump or notice anything different, make an appointment with your GP as soon as possible.”
NHS England in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire commissions a breast screening programme for women aged 50 - 70.
As part the programme, women receive a mammogram once every three years, which can detect tumours too small to be felt by hand.