What to feel for

Hello, I’ve just joined the forum and I was really looking for some advice. I’m 18 years old and have just started examining my breasts but I’m not sure exactly what a lump feels like. Is it really obvious that it’s a lump? Because when I feel my breasts I can feel structures inside, like tubes or something, is this normal? I only got worried because these “tubes” seem to be a bit bigger and harder in my left breast than the right. My boyfriend thinks it’s nothing but I can’t help feeling anxious and I’m working myself up into a bit of state to be honest because I don’t know what I’m feeling for. Sorry if this all sounds a bit silly.

Hi there. I can only say what I felt with my lump. My first sign was one dimple on the breast a couple of cms from the lump. The lump was harder to feel and only able to be felt some months after the dimple sign. I expected a cancerous lump to feel as dense and hard as a stone, but it didn’t. It was as it’s described sometimes, like a ‘thickening’ of tissue. All rather vague I’m afraid.

Hi there stix

Just wanted to welcome you to the forums. We have a lot of young women reading the forums who are unsure about breast examination, it’s natural to worry that you may not be sure about what to look for.

You are certainly not being silly and you raise a good question.

I’ve given a link here to one of our publications which you may find useful to read. Its about breast health and covers issues such as breast examination.


You can either download it from here or order through the orderline.

Very best wishes


its really rare to get Bc at 18 but its good idea to feel what your breast are like so you know if something feels different, not just in your breast either but all the way up to your armpit.

also its important to know what your breasts look like as steph said it was the look of her breast taht alerted her and this is the case for many women, some women dont feel lumps but see other changes, like oozing or bleeding nipples, dimples in the breast or changes to look or texture of the skin.

i noticed my lump because i felt a tugging sensation, but pain or discomfort isnt usually a sign of cancer.


Hi Stix
good for you - its a great idea to get to know your breasts. As Lulu says, its really very rare to find bc in an 18 year old and if you are worried, your GP would be a good place to go. None of us have breasts that are both the same, it is about getting to know whats normal for you, and at different times in your monthly cycle.
A good tip is to do the checks in the shower or bath when you are soapy - its easier to feel unusual lumps (I have found cancer twice doing that).
I hope that we all help to put your mind at rest a bit
monica xx

Hi Stix

I’ve heard of nurses at Family Planning centres etc. doing breast checks and showing people how to check. Is that an option for you?

L x

I think it’s great that you are so aware about BC although it is important to keep in perspective too and not to worry all the time about it.
Signs and symptoms do vary. My first indication was pain and soreness with a thickening of breast tissue - it definitely wasn’t a distinct lump as such. There are different types of BC that present in different ways.

The thing to do is to try to get to know what is normal for you. If you then feel anything different or if you can see changes in the breast (for example when I had the cancer one breast looked bigger than the other and this was different from before) then don’t hesitate to go to your GP. It may be helpful as someone else has suggested for you to get someone to guide you through a breast check such as a nurse who can also put your mind at rest.
Elinda x

Thank you very much for all the help everyone, I think I probably will go to see a nurse and get her to guide me through how to check properly and thanks to everyone who mentioned what symptoms they found, you’ve been very helpfull :slight_smile:

I had a lump removed when I was 18. It was completely benign and left only a small scar. Then I had lots of lumps which were cysts-I had some syringed which was not too good because of pain.Never really did find it easy toi self examine because of lumpy breasts When I had DCIS detected it was from a mammogram years later. No lumps at all. Good luck with it.

I’m still 20 but I found out that even women of my age are still being affected by breast cancer. That was really scary so I immediately joined this wonderful forum. Thanks guys for the infos

I think your problem is now simple.But it will get complicated day by day.You know that “Prevention is better than cure”. So you should consult a specialist as early as possible and take proper treatment. Don’t play with problems.

Not always a lump…common mistake that Breast Cancer… there is always is a lump…I had no lump. My Breast was enlarged and felt like I was breast feeding (similair to the fullness feeling around period time), but the breast was larger in size, the skin looked dimpled underneath the breast. shooting pains through the nipple but not all the time. My arm became swollen and it turned out the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes. I just knew my breast was not right for me it felt different and the nipple had no discharge nor was inverted the skin on the breast was itchy, red and the veins rose up, but the actual nipple texture was thickened, not usual for me.

Just wanted to say to all the young girls, that I really think it is sensible to check your breasts, but I would encourage you to get a nurse to do it for you. I had a lump in my breast when I was 14 and from then on kept finding lumps myself (but they were never anything), but checking became an obsession and caused a lot of anxiety - so, my daughter (18) gets the nurse at the local surgery to check her. Young women do get breast cancer, but I believe that 80% of cases are still in the over 50s, so it is important that you take care of yourself, get regularly checked, make a fuss if you think something isn’t right, but please don’t get over-anxious.