Published on: 26 October 2023

NHS breast surgeon urges people to be aware of breast cancer signs and symptoms

NHS South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Cancer Alliance are encouraging people to see their GP if they notice changes to their body this Breast Cancer Awareness month.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Cancer Alliance are raising awareness of breast cancer signs and symptoms, and encouraging people to see their GP if they notice any concerning changes to their bodies.


Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK, with approximately 1 in 7 women being diagnosed during their lifetime. Whilst breast cancer primarily affects women, anyone with breast tissue can get breast cancer.


The first noticeable symptom of breast cancer is usually a lump or area of thickened breast tissue, but other symptoms to be aware of include:

  • a change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
  • discharge from either nipple, which may be streaked with blood
  • a lump or swelling in either armpit
  • dimpling on the skin of the breasts
  • a rash on or around the nipple
  • a change in the appearance of the nipple, such as becoming sunken into the breast

The symptoms might not be cancer, but if it is, the earlier it’s picked up the higher the chance of successful treatment.


Julia Dicks, Consultant Breast Surgeon and Clinical Director for South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Cancer Alliance, said: “Knowing what is normal for your body is important in order to be able to spot any changes and to know if something doesn’t feel right.


Anyone experiencing breast changes should book an appointment with their GP as soon as possible. It may be nothing serious, but it is always best to get checked.”

The exact causes of breast cancer are not fully understood, however there are certain factors known to increase the risk of breast cancer, especially age – there is an increased risk with age, but also a family history of breast cancer or a previous diagnosis of breast cancer.


Don’t wait if something doesn’t feel right, finding cancer early makes it more treatable and can save lives.

More information on breast cancer symptoms can be found here