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Younger than 40 years

Take the time to get to know the normal look and feel of your breasts as part of your daily routine, for example, while showering, dressing, putting on body lotion or simply looking in the mirror. You don’t have to be an expert or use a special technique.

Knowing what is normal for you will help you to detect any new or unusual breast changes.

If you find a breast change that is unusual for you, see your GP without delay. Nine out of ten breast changes are not due to cancer, but see your doctor to be sure.

Screening mammograms are an effective way of detecting early signs of breast cancer in older women, but they are not effective in women under 40 years of age. Younger women's breasts are very dense and appear like white cotton wool on a mammogram. This makes it very difficult to see any early signs of breast cancer, which appears as a small white abnormality within the cotton wool background.  Generally breasts become less dense as women get older, particularly after the menopause.