How to check your breasts for lumps (in light of Sarah Harding’s tragic passing)
Knowing how to check your breasts could be the key in early breast cancer detection.
Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding tragically died over the weekend, with her heartbroken mum confirming that she had passed away after a long battle with breast cancer. Just 39 years of age, the talented performer first revealed that she had been diagnosed with the disease back in August 2020.
Soon spreading to other parts of her body, Harding fought bravely up until her very last day but the prognosis wasn’t good and her doctors had already told her that she wouldn’t see another Christmas.
Leaving a legion of friends, family and loyal fans behind, Sarah’s former bandmates lead the tributes to the star with Northern Ireland woman Nadine Coyle saying that she is “absolutely devastated”. “I can’t think of words that could possibly express how I feel about this girl & what she means to me!! I know so many of you will be feeling this way,” she wrote. “For now I’m sending so much love to you!!!”
Nicola Roberts echoed the same sentiments, sharing a number of photos of her and Harding together and adding that her “heart is aching”. “Electric girl, you made us,” she continued. “You gave it everything and still with a smile. A white butterfly flew past my window this morning before I knew, it must have been you.”
Several others have since followed suit, each paying their respects to Harding and her family, while also taking the opportunity to encourage people to check their own breasts.
— Nicola Coughlan (@nicolacoughlan) September 5, 2021
As the HSE website states, checking your breasts regularly (also called being breast aware) is extremely important as it enables you to recognise any unusual or irregular changes.
Changes to look out for
- Any changes in size or shape
- A change in skin texture such as dimpling or puckering
- Any lumps/lumpy areas – may not always be visible but can be felt
- Any change to the nipple in appearance or direction
- A discharge from one or both nipples or any rash/crusting of the nipple or surrounding areas
- Any pain or swelling in the breast area, armpit or collarbone
How to check – as per the HSE website
- Stand in front of the mirror with your shoulders straight and your hands on your hips.
- Raise your arms and look for changes in appearance. Check nipples for changes/discharge.
- Feel your breasts. Use your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Keep your fingers flat and together. Using a circular motion, cover your entire breast from top to bottom and side to side. Move your hand from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage.
- Repeat step number three while lying down.
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in Irish women with the Marie Keating Foundation reporting that close to 4,000 cases are diagnosed annually. Early detection is crucial in providing the best chance of effective treatment.