Last updated on Jun 22nd, 2021 at 03:51 pm

We often hear about lumps, but there are signs of breast cancer other than a lump to be aware of when doing breast self-examinations…

Not all breast lumps indicate cancer, but they should be investigated.

According to the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), you should also look out for the following changes in breasts or in armpits:

  • Texture changes
  • Thickening
  • Dimpling
  • Changes in shape or size of nipples or breasts
  • Tenderness
  • Discharge
  • Rash
  • Swelling
  • One breast suddenly being slightly larger than the other

The best way to ensure that you notice even the smallest changes is to perform regular breast self-examinations (BSE).

Breast cancer: Let’s get real about breast self-exams

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When and how to perform a breast self-examination

According to CANSA, a breast self-examination should be done once a month, preferably at the same time of day.

To learn how to perform a BSE, watch the following video:


If you feel or see any change in your breasts or underarms, don’t ignore it. Schedule a clinical breast examination with your primary health practitioner.

“Don’t ignore your body if something feels off, no matter how insignificant, like excessive hair fall, nail discolouration, tiredness – this is your body warning you that something is wrong,” says cancer survivor Cynthia Erasmus.

“I had all of these symptoms before I even felt the lump that changed my life. Looking back now I realise that if I had acted sooner, perhaps I could just have had a lumpectomy instead of a double mastectomy.”

You don’t have to wait until there is something to be concerned about either. A clinical breast examination should be part of your annual check-up with your doctor.

If you’re over 40, it is advised to have an annual mammogram.


WATCH: Jennifer Garner shares video of her mammogram appointment

Source: CANSA

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For more articles on breast cancer, click here.

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.