Be breast cancer aware this October

Breast cancer awareness month

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month the Public Health Agency (PHA) is raising awareness of signs and symptoms of the condition, and encouraging women to look out for changes in their breasts.

“There were 1,478 cases of breast cancer diagnosed in Northern Ireland in 2017,” said Dr Louise Herron, Consultant in Service Development and Screening at the PHA.

“Most women know that if you get a lump in your breast you need to get it checked out early. But lumps aren’t the only sign of breast cancer. Our breasts look and feel different at different times in our lives. If you are worried about any change at all, the best way to put your mind at rest is to see your GP.”

Some changes that might indicate breast cancer:

Lumps – if you find a lump it doesn’t necessarily mean you have cancer, but get it checked out. Lumps can appear in your breast, armpit or around your collarbone.

A nipple that’s become turned in – any changes in the size of shape of your breast needs to be checked out.

Dimples – some women find dimples in their breasts – these need to be checked early.

Leaking nipples – if you notice any discharge coming from your nipple you need to see a doctor as soon as possible.

Crusty nipples some women get crustiness around or on their nipple. Sometimes it is like a red rash, sometimes it is flaky skin and it can be itchy. 

“About nine out of ten women in Northern Ireland survive breast cancer when it is caught and treated early,” said Dr Herron.

“Breast cancer touches lots of lives and many of us have a family member or friend who has been diagnosed. To make sure you pick up any changes in your breasts you need to be aware of what is normal for you. You need to know when things change so you can spot potential problems. It is important to be breast aware.”

For further information on the changes to look out for, see

If you notice any changes at all, see your GP. For further information on breast cancer visit You can also find out information about breast screening at