Breast cancer

breast cancer awareness lump1 in 8* women in Northern Ireland will get breast cancer in their lifetime

Around 1,400 women in Northern Ireland are diagnosed with breast cancer every year- about 80% of these are over the age of 50. But it can happen to both younger women and a small number of men. Read some personal stories here.


Over the last ten years the number of breast cancers cases diagnosed has increased by 25% (from 1,182 in 2008 to 1,455 in 2018).

So whatever your age or sex, being breast aware – knowing what is normal for you – makes sense.

*Statistics referenced from NI Cancer Registry

1. Get to know what is normal for you

Two thirds of breast cancers are discovered by women themselves. Knowing your breasts – what is normal for you – and being aware of the key signs and symptoms of breast cancer is vital for early detection.

2. Check your breasts regularly

Our brand ambassador Rebecca McKinney details how to check your breasts – LookFeelTouch in this video. Don’t forget to check under the armpits and right up to your collar bone. 

3. Know what changes to look for

Do you know the signs and symptoms of breast cancer?  Aside from a lump, would you recognise the other signs and symptoms of breast cancer? Check out our signs and symptoms video.

4. If in doubt, get checked out 

If you have a breast concern, don’t delay – make an appointment to talk it over with your doctor as soon as possible. Remember 9 out of 10 lumps are harmless but still need to be checked out by your GP.

5. Go for breast screening when you’re 50 or over

A screening mammogram is an x-ray of your breast taken from two angles and will last no longer than five minutes. All women aged 50- 70 are invited every three years for free breast screening. If you are over 70 you won’t receive a postal reminder but it’s important to continue to make appointments with your local screening centre. You don’t need to have any symptoms to use this service. Remember it is important to be breast aware in between your appointments.

Reduce your risk of breast cancer: 

  • By being physically active / not overweight
  • Eating a healthy diet – fruit, vegetables, fibre and less fat and red meat
  • Limiting alcohol intake
  • Stop smoking or don’t start
  • Breastfeeding

No known breast cancer risk from:

  • Injury
  • Deodorants
  • Under-wired bras
  • Stress