How to Breast Cancer Check – Breast Self Examination

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Did you know October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month? Each year I have a member of “Breast Cancer Ireland” come along to guest speak during my WeightMatters Online Weekly Live Zoom meetings to talk through some statistics as well as show my members how to do a breast cancer self-check. This year I had Carol along. It’s incredibly important to know how to Breast Cancer check yourself so keep reading for everything you need to know about a breast self-examination. 


How to check for breast cancer – breast cancer self-exam

How can I check myself for breast cancer at home?

Doing a breast check can be scary but it’s important to know how to check your breasts for lumps as well as the many other signs of breast cancer. Did you know that it’s not just a lump? Sometimes you may never find a lump, but there are other signs to look for Let’s have a look:

Breast Cancer symptoms – the 6 signs to look out for during our self-examination

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Image provided by Breast Cancer Ireland

Types of breast examination – Checking breasts for lumps

Did you know there are three main ways you can do your self-check?

Firstly, to do your breast self-examination, start from the collarbone and work down, covering all the way under the armpit, under the breast and back up.


There are 3 ways to do this properly:

1. Lines:
Or as Carol described it, imagine a heating element in a kettle and use this pattern to go up and down.

2. Coiling method:
Use the ball of 3 fingers and do a circular method of coiling from the outside in.

3. Wedges
Carol described visualizing pizza slices or a starfish. Divide the area into slices and work in and out on each wedge.


Other tips:

  • Use good pressure.
  • Strip to the waist in front of a full-length mirror. Lean forward to look at how the breast and tissue look – how they fall etc. This may show some of the symptoms we’ve discussed.
  • Then do the exam standing in front of the mirror. Or lying on a bed.
  • Put your hand on your head.
  • Do the breast check first.
  • Then focus well under the armpit.
  • Alternatively, get in the habit of doing it in the shower. Use shower gel to allow our hands to slide easier over the skin.

Breast Cancer Ireland Statistics

  • 1 in 9 women will develop breast cancer in the course of their lifetime.
  • We have 3,700 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed this year so far.
  • The number is going up as people patients are getting diagnosed earlier due to self-checking.
  • 30% of women are diagnosed between the ages of 20-50 years.
  • 34% of women are diagnosed between the ages of 50-69 years.
  • 36% of women are diagnosed over the age of 70 years.
  • Only 5%-10% of breast cancer cases are hereditary.



When is breast cancer awareness month in Ireland? 

If you’re wondering “what is the month for breast cancer awareness”, it’s October.


Can men get breast cancer?

Yes, anyone with breast tissue can get cancer, including men. The rates are lower than women – 1:1000, but it is still possible.


Breast Cancer Survival rates in Ireland?

It’s important to know, the rates of survival are improving with increased research.

Early diagnosis = better treatment = better chances
Survival rates are going up from 75% to 85%. 


How common is breast cancer in Ireland?

1 in 9 women will develop breast cancer in the course of their lifetime, while 1 in 1000 men in Ireland may develop the disease.


Can a self-exam detect breast cancer?

Absolutely! On a previous year after Breast Cancer Ireland did a guest talk for my members, a member did a check, found a lump and visited the doctor. She is now flying it after receiving her treatment! 


Does weight loss/ healthy diet prevent breast cancer?

Yes, being at a healthy weight and weight loss can indeed reduce your chances of breast cancer.

According to, “women who lose weight after age 50 and keep it off have a lower risk of breast cancer than women whose weight stays the same”.

Did you know you can download the FREE Breast Cancer Ireland app which will send you monthly reminders to do your breast self-check? I highly recommend downloading this.

Free app  with monthly reminders and contains the simulated video on how to self-examine 


WeightMatters with Jenny

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WeightMatters with Jenny is an online weight loss programme which aims to improve your overall mental and physical health, including a healthy weight. Although I am based in Cavan Ireland, I have members all over the country from Roscommon to Longford, Sligo to Dublin and as far down as Kerry and Cork. I have members in the UK, Spain and other parts of Europe as well as in the United States!

Because my programme is completely remote, it is open to anyone who wants to lose weight, work on weight control and receive daily support! As part of the programme, you’ll get to join my weekly live zoom meetings (there are 3 a week) and also have full access to the recipes and resources on my site. You’ll join the closed WhatsApp group and send me weekly weigh-ins. I love helping my members reach their goals and help them to become Diamond Members.

Want to see some of my members before and afters? Click here

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