I feel such a hypocrite. Sitting here with a lump in my breast I found by fluke, telling other people to check their breasts.
But as my Dear Mummy says “Do as I say, not as I do!”
If I’d actually done what I was supposed to do I may have noticed a change a year ago, got the cancer diagnosis promptly and had the lump removed in a relatively simple procedure. Job done. Instead I’m sat here aged 36, one week from a double mastectomy and then facing 6 months of chemotherapy.
But it could be worse. If I hadn’t scratched my arm pit that fateful night, if I hadn’t been sleeping with my arm over my head making the lump more noticeable, I could be sat here completely oblivious to the fact cancer was spreading throughout my body potentially taking my life before I got a chance to seduce Olly Murs.
Luckily I don’t play the “what if..?” game. I prefer the “oh well rather than focusing on what could have happened write a blog post and tell other people to check their boobs as it could save their lives or breasts” game. Don’t worry, I’ll try and come up with a catchier name before I pitch it to Dragons Den!
The reason I didn’t check my breasts regularly was I didn’t know how to do it properly. I had seen some things on TV about how to do a breast check but when I stood in front of the mirror I couldn’t remeber what I was supposed to do. I also couldn’t remember if it was supposed to be at a certain time of the month. It all seemed so complicated! So instead I did what I naturally do when things seem a bit difficult… nothing.
What a knob.
What I now know about breast checking is it doesn’t matter how you do it, JUST DO IT!!! (other sports slogans are available)
What is important is WHAT to look for. If you want to find a sexy hunk for er….a nice conversation (my Dad reads this blog…) you could swipe right on Tinder, log on to Match.com, go to a bar, meet a work colleague in the stationery cupboard, the possibilities are endless! It wouldn’t matter how you met them, just that you met them. The same is true of breast changes, it doesn’t matter how you find them, all that matters is you find them! Coppafeel have done this handy graphic to show you what to look for (which you can also get as a waterproof shower sticker so it can remind you in the shower!)
If you want to make it part of a weekly strip tease with your partner, and rub your boobs in olive oil while you carress them then thats your business.
If you prefer to do it in the cubicle while you have a sneaky poo on company time, also your business.
But whatever you do just check them!
Coppafeel do a campaign called #whatnormalfeelslike. Its a question I get asked often about babies movements…”what are normal movements for a baby” and it seems Coppafeel give the same answer that I give…”you tell me!” With babies movements the key is to get to know your baby, how often YOUR baby moves, that is then your normal and you can report any changes. Same with boobs. Feel your boobs regularly, get to know what they feel like so you can spot any changes and report them.
CoppaFeel exists to educate and remind every young person in the UK that checking their boobs isn’t only fun, it could save their life. They are the first breast cancer charity in the UK to create awareness amongst young people, with the aim of instilling a new healthy habit that could one day save their life. It was founded by Kris who was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer (there is no stage 5) when she was 23. And no thats not a typo…twenty-three! I thought I was young at 36, but I’m an old hag compared to Kris. It really can happen at any age, so don’t be complacent because you’re young.
I had been offered Mammograms from 40 due to a family history of breast cancer so put checking boobs on the back burner. A common response when I tell people I have breast cancer is “Oh its in the family” almost like its reassurance it won’t happen to them. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but my cancer is highly unlikely to be genetically linked. The type of cancer I have is not usually associated with the BRCA gene mutation. So any history is irrelevant, this would be happening if no one in my family had ever even heard of cancer. So please don’t assume you’ll be fine as there’s no history of cancer in your family. Check anyway. And check now.
And to encourage everyone to do so I’m going to attempt a selfie campaign. Go check your boobs, (and if you’re pregnant also check your baby is moving as normal!)
When, and ONLY when you have had a little feel around, take your thumbs up selfie and post it with the hashtag #ivechecked and nominate 3 friends to do the same.
To allow Coppafeel and Kicks Count to contiue to raise awareness of things to look out for you can also donate to the causes. You can Text CHECKED to 70660 to donate £3 (or change the amount by typing it after CHECKED. Eg CHECKED £2 to 70660)
If you would prefer to donate online you can visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/ivecheckedYou can donate now to my Boobs and Babies Fundraising! Subscribe to this blog Follow me on twitter