It was 6 whole months ago that I shared my shit news with you all by writing a blog post. I thought long and hard before pushing the “Publish” button, knowing there would be no going back and I would be committing to playing out my breast cancer hell in a public arena. I’m sure some of you thought I was mad but at that moment I was desperate for something positive to come from such blackness. At the time my motivation was to encourage you all to check your boobs, feel for those lumps and bumps, spot this killer disease early and maybe, just maybe, save a life. There have been other wonderful, unforeseen consequences of sharing my life with you all. Some of you have contacted me to tell me how my blog posts have helped you along your own cancer path. Many have helped me so much with such positivity, helpfulness and love which has given me strength in the darkest of times.
But today I was reminded of my original motivation for blogging when discussing my hell with the staff at my dental practice. Many of them confessed that they NEVER check their breasts. Never. That can’t be good. 1 in 8 women will experience breast cancer in their lifetime. When I look at the beautiful women around me that makes me so sad. Many of them will experience this nightmare first hand. I would do anything to shield them from it. And men – you are not immune from this. Almost 400 men each year are diagnosed with breast cancer. So you really shouldn’t be complacent. You really don’t want to be one of the 400.
But, crucially, whatever your age or sex, catching it early can make all the difference. So that means we all need to be breast aware and check those beauties regularly.
There’s no right or wrong way to do this – but don’t rely on your partners to be doing it for you. Just because your hubby is a boob man doesn’t mean he’s going to find that lemon seed lump about to cause havok – he is focussing on other things! No. You really do have to do this for yourself. In the shower, lying in bed, while getting dressed. It doesn’t matter when or how as long as you do it. Have a good feel, get to know what normal feels like. And then if you’re unlucky enough for abnormal to descend on you then at least you’ll notice.
So now onto what to look out for. The obvious sign is the lump. Cancer is often a hard, immovable lemon seed. Mine was beneath the surface, hidden from all but a good feel. But it’s not just lumps and bumps we need to be searching for – new dimples, a change in our nipples (leaking or inverting), prominent veins, a change in skin texture could all be signs of breast cancer.
So if you’ve managed to read this blog to this point then do me a favour. Do it now. Check those boobs. And if something doesn’t look or feel quite right, pick up the phone, call your GP and get checked. It’s almost certainly nothing to be concerned about. But I’m glad I did exactly that. I caught my cancer early enough to have an excellent chance of winning the battle.
Now one more favour. Next time you see your girlfriends ask them when they last checked themselves. Remind them. Share my post. Spread the word. Someone, somewhere will be glad you did.
So, what are you waiting for? Go have a bloody good feel.