Saturday, 23 October 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness Month


Now there's a word I never thought I'd start a blog post with.

I would hazard a very unscientific guess that the large amount of people who read my blog are owners of the above, women.

So this is a post which may not interest or may leave all you boys a little red of face.

Breast Cancer Awareness month is well and truly underway, and is a time when us girls are reminded of the importance of taking a few minutes out of your day, perhaps when you've got out the shower, or before bed when you're putting on your pyjamas, to examine our Lady Lumps, and check for anything that may not be what you're used to feeling under the skin.

But do you know how to examine yourself properly?

When I was about 14, we had Personal and Health Lessons. My God did we all not like those. Boys and girls all in a classroom, more commonly known for Geography lessons, being asked to do such things as placing a condom on a plastic stand. Or talking about our knowledge of smoking or drugs.

One such lesson, we entered the classroom. It was always a line in which we would wait and everyone would laugh and joke. We were teenagers, its only natural when even someone breaking wind in class is funny.

We sat at our desks, and the nurse literally rugby passed a sack to one of the girls at the front. At first glance it looked like a very cheap beanbag, made of some weird cotton lycra fabric.
It was thrown around the classroom until the Nurse and Teacher calmed us all down.

She explained that the "bean Bag" was actually a way of representing our breasts and the tissue within. She encouraged us all the feel them, really feel the "insides".

Which yes got a few titters (no pun intended) especially from the boys who had a little feel and then threw it down the table as quick as possible!

She then explained that underneath the bag, and the other material within, which was there to represent tissue, there were lumps of differing sizes. And it was only if we really felt properly through the other "tissue" we would find them.

It taught us girls (and boys, because Breast Cancer can affect them too) the importance of knowing how to go about a proper examination.

When I was 24, I found a lump. Not a big lump, not painful, just about the size of a pea.

I was scared.

I didn't say anything to anyone, for about 3 weeks. I just sat there, thinking that I had had it.

A friend got the truth out of me. And told Elder. Who immediately made me make an appointment with the GP.

Its quite an embarrassing thing for a girl to do, go to a Male and tell them about girls stuff like boobs. My GP was great, he made arrangements for me to go to my Hospital, and be seen properly to have the lump investigated.

So, after a few weeks I was sitting in a cold waiting room in my local hospital, in a gown, amongst 30 other women. Due to the staff being so busy, I was crossed off the list as being seen, so I ended up waiting for over 2 hours. What struck me was the women were from all ages, all walks of life. All pale. Except one.

She had the most amazing big curly hair, with highlights. I was sat opposite her, must have looked as scared as I was, so she started to tell me I'd be fine, not to worry. I said I loved her hair, I'd always wanted curly hair, and hers was so bouncy.

Its not mine, love, she said. Not originally anyway, I always fancied curly hair myself, so when I lost mine, I chose curly locks! Its extensions.

She was in her mid thirties when she was diagnosed. 

My lump turned out to be just a tissue build up, nothing serious at all. 

There are now services to help with self examination and to provide reminders of keeping up with the checks.

1. Free self examination reminder service (with video guide)
This free service, offered via the BreastHealth UK website, allows women to access a regular reminder once a month during the middle of their menstrual cycle (the best time for women to check their breasts for any abnormalities). To sign up, women should enter their name, the date of the first day of their last period, mobile number and/or email address – it’s so easy and it only takes 20 seconds.  A reminder will be sent at the optimal time of the month, including a link to a short video which shows an experienced breast nurse demonstrating how to do a self examination - an essential skill for all women to learn.

2. BreastHealth UK Online Risk Assessment Service (with telephone results)
One of the most widely used models for breast cancer risk assessment, the Tyrer-Cuzick model, is available via the BreastHealth UK website as part of a new type of breast health screening service which enables women to understand their own personal level of risk.  The service costs £75 and includes a risk assessment questionnaire that can be filled in online, and is then analysed by qualified breast health professionals. The results are delivered within a week via telephone by a genetic counsellor from BreastHealth UK who will explain the level of risk and advise the best way forward for the client.

Breast Cancer can affect someone at anytime, at any age. It does not distinguish between class, or religion, or ethnic group. Make sure you learn how to be breast aware.


  1. I've been working on some Pink Friday posts during October - you can find them all here:

    I don't care how many people bang on about this - we need to know and be reminded!!

  2. Having lost my mum to breast cancer it is so important that this message gets out.
    I didn't know about the breast health website and if I had £75 I would definately use them. I've always said that if I find a lump and its cancerous - they're both coming off and am going to get some perky tits!


Thanks for Commenting!