They may have relocated further south since you had children, but it’s time to form a close loving relationship with your boobs again.

October was global breast cancer awareness month and a big surprise was revealed that many women have no idea how to check their lady lumps correctly and are also unsure about what exactly they should be looking for.

Use this internationally recognised, five step method from The Breast Cancer Org so you can be confident that are taking correct control of your health.

Step 1:

Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips. Here’s what you should look for:

– Breasts that are their usual size, shape, and colour.

– Breasts that are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling.

If you see any of the following changes, bring them to your doctor’s attention:

– Dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin.

– A nipple that has changed position or an inverted nipple.

– Redness, soreness, rash, or swelling.

Step 2:

Now, raise your arms and look for the same changes

Step 3:

While you’re at the mirror, look for any signs of fluid coming out of one or both nipples (this could be a watery, milky, or yellow fluid or blood).

Step 4: 

Next, feel your breasts while lying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few finger pads of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together. Using a small circular motion, cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side, from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage.

Follow a pattern to be sure that you cover the whole breast. You can begin at the nipple, moving in larger and larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast. You can also move your fingers up and down vertically, in rows, as if you were mowing a lawn. This up-and-down approach seems to work best for most women. Be sure to feel all the tissue from the front to the back of your breasts.  For the skin and tissue just beneath, use light pressure; use medium pressure for tissue in the middle of your breasts; use firm pressure for the deep tissue in the back. When you’ve reached the deep tissue, you should be able to feel down to your ribcage.

Step 5:

Finally, feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting. Many women find that the easiest way to feel their breasts is when their skin is wet and slippery, so they like to do this step in the shower. Cover your entire breast, using the same hand movements described in step four.

One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, that could be someone in your friendship circle. Early detection can save lives so please make this check a monthly ritual and even have a discussion with your squad over coffee in order to hold each other accountable for keeping “abreast” of their health.

For more information, The National Breast Cancer Foundation is giving away a free breast health guide via their website.