Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to raise awareness about the impact of breast cancer. The past year has posed a challenge to just about everything, and breast cancer prevention is no exception. Although we saw setbacks in screenings and early detection, we’re rising to the challenge together.

What Are The Symptoms and Risk Factors?

There are different symptoms of breast cancer, and some people have no symptoms at all. Symptoms can include:

  • Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
  • Pain in any area of the breast.
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk (including blood).
  • A new lump in the breast or underarm.

If you have any signs that worry you, see your doctor right away.

Risk Factors:

  • Being a woman
  • Being older. Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years or older
  • Having changes in your BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes
symptoms and risk factors breast cancer - chcw

How to do a self breast exam

Adult women of all ages are encouraged to perform breast self-exams at least once a month.

While mammograms can help you to detect cancer before you can feel a lump, breast self-exams help you to be familiar with how your breasts look and feel so you can alert your healthcare professional if there are any changes.

How should a self breast exam be performed?


In the Shower

With the pads/flats of your 3 middle fingers, check the entire breast and armpit area pressing down with light, medium, and firm pressure.

Check both breasts each month feeling for any lump, thickening, hardened knot, or any other breast changes.


In Front of a Mirror

Visually inspect your breasts with your arms at your sides. Next, raise your arms high overhead. Look for any changes in the contour, any swelling, or dimpling of the skin, or changes in the nipples. Next, rest your palms on your hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles. Left and right breasts will not exactly match—few women’s breasts do, so look for any dimpling, puckering, or changes, particularly on one side.

Lying Down

When lying down, the breast tissue spreads out evenly along the chest wall. Place a pillow under your right shoulder and your right arm behind your head. Using your left hand, move the pads of your fingers around your right breast gently covering the entire breast area and armpit. Use light, medium, and firm pressure. Squeeze the nipple; check for discharge and lumps. Repeat these steps for your left breast.

It’s Time to RISE – From the National Breast Cancer Foundation

Join the Natoinal Breast Cancer Foundation during Breast Cancer Awareness Month as they RISE to help uplift women in need.

Together, we can Rally in Supporting Everyone—those diagnosed yesterday or years ago; those diagnosed at Stage 0 or Stage 4; those bravely caring or mourning for loved ones. And those anxiously waiting and pleading for their symptoms to not be breast cancer. RISE now: nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-awareness-month