Monday, 16 April 2012

Please Check.

This will either be a blog post that makes you feel really awkward or hopefully a post that empowers you in some way. I hope it's the latter, if not then I apologise for any weird feelings you come across as you read this.

Do you check your breasts?

I mean - regularly - check your breasts?

As I'll be honest I never did until about a year ago. However, after meeting so many (I cannot even count any more) breast cancer sufferers say "If only I had checked my breasts more often...I would have found the lump much sooner" that I felt the need to say to myself just check once a month!

Last month just before America I found a little lump in my left breast, no bigger than a couple of pea sizes. I've been to my doctor and she says it doesn't feel sinister. It feels more like a cyst or protruding cartilage on the sternum. So I am having further tests to see if it needs to be removed etc.

But that's not the point.

The point is if I had not checked my breasts last month I would not have found it. It could have been left to become sinister at a later point. I work on an all female ward and I asked some of my patients if they knew how to check their breasts properly, You know what? None of them did it properly or in the best way. They were rotating their fingers (which only moves tissues further away), prodding into breast tissue and some just looked down and said "I don't see any lumps". It's not their fault. I think it's largely to blame from lack of information and guidance on the subject. 

The video is really good as it shows the 'cupping' method you use and it was this programme that prompted me to check a week after my cycle each month. 

It literally takes a couple of minutes. One of the things my patients say to me is that breasts are so 'lumpy' anyway due to the mammary glands. However, usually when your checking your breasts - correctly as seen in the video - abnormal lumps tend to 'pop out' a bit because they're not meant to be there. If not, go to your doctor to confirm as I did.

I think the biggest misconception is that younger people don't have to check. I'm 23 and the thought of something like breast cancer at this age doesn't compute to me but I had a 24 year old with breast cancer last week to take care of. So it reignited my instinct to check my breasts regularly again.

Please do it. I don't mean to make anyone uncomfortable but to me it is so very important and it saves lives.

Are you an advocate of this?


CrysHouse said...

After a close friend's mother was diagnosed, I started taking it much more seriously than I used to.

Laura Anne said...

Great post Rebecca.

I do not check as often as I should. and that's a Health Promotion girl speaking who used to have fake boob and fake testicles to take around to show people how to do it. However, watching that I think I was taught incorrectly on some of the aspects.

Callie Nicole said...

This is a good reminder - I always forget to check, but I need to get on a better schedule for checking. My doctor told me once that she found a lump on a 12 year old! It can happen at any age, which makes self-exams so important.

Katie said...

I do take it seriously now. Three women that I work with have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Two have recovered, but one lost her fight. They were older, but it scared me into action.

Hey Monkey Butt said...

My mother is battling a case of breast cancer, has lost her left breast. Like Rebecca says, please please please check your breasts! I do, OFTEN! :)

Starlight said...

Rebecca, thank you so much for sharing this video; I shared it on FB and sent it to my friends. Lately I've figured out that I don't know how to examine my breasts and some friends told me they don't either. This video is great and I'm really glad for this post.

Sheena said...

My mom has been battling breast cancer. She found a lump. They did a mammogram and said it wasn't serious and to come back in 6 months. She did. It was at Stage 4. If you find a lump, MAKE them check it! And you can't find a lump if you don't do self exams! For the love, just do it, people!

Stacie said...

Save the tatas!

I am a huge proponent of self-checks. My maternal grandmother died at the age of 38 from breast cancer (in the early 1960's). My mom and all of her sisters have had benign cysts removed from their breasts. I've already had a baseline mammogram b/c of my family history and plan to have a second baseline after I breast feed as my tissue will change. You can never be too careful with your breasts or any of your female parts. I am also a huge advocate for women to get yearly Pap Smears.

Holly said...

Thanks for posting this video, I think it's definitely really valuable! I'd never actually watched instructions that showed HOW to check before!

Kristen said...

Excellent post!

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