My peaches it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and this is your reminder to check your boobs!
That’s right, we’re going to chat about those lumps on bumps that we don’t talk about.
Similar to mental health, there seems to be a section of our physical health that has a slight taboo around it; the private parts.
I have no idea why they’re called that. I mean the people who raised you will have seen these private parts as a child, numerous partners will, as well as friends if you’re that drunk / comfortable person. You do you.
My point being, the likelihood is, they aren’t so private.
So why do we keep it hush hush when we have a feel and find a lump on an aforementioned bump?
It’s not embarrassing if something is different on your boobs. There’s no reason not to tell someone.
Know your body. Feel it, touch it, squeeze it, how does it feel? Does it feel like it did last time?
I check my boobs thoroughly once a month (as you should) but probably have a little look most days getting in and out the shower, as well, in the words of Joey Tribbiani you look down and there they are.
And yes, this has paid off. I began to notice some pain back in my boobs last year in December, which of course could be numerous things, but my mind jumped to, YOU ARE PREGNANT.
Two tests later and infinite googling about the effectiveness of my pill and nope, not pregnant.
Probably just hormones then? Everything looked fine and felt fine, so I continued.
After about a week of pain, I’d decided it was my pill causing it, I had another feel and the tissue was harder. I thought it was a bit strange, but nothing groundbreakingly odd.
A few days later the time had arrived again for my monthly in depth rummage. The pain had been going on for the full ten days to two weeks now and I found some small little pea sized lumps around the firmer tissue in one boob. The one that hurt more.
Now, my Dad died from a brain tumour, as did my Grandad, my Aunty had and recovered from breast cancer, one of my best friends had and recovered from ovarian cancer; it would have been very easy to freak out and panic at this point.
But I did what I tell everyone to do and what those people just mentioned are reminders to do – I phoned the doctors.
Obviously I couldn’t get an appointment (even pre-COVID) so I phoned 111 answered their bizarre questions and then was referred back to my GP who saw me an hour later.
He examined my little pea bumps on my pomegranates (My Dad Wrote a Porno podcast reference there) and decided to refer me to the breast clinic. It could be cancer, he said, but it’s unlikely.
But to be sure, as he could feel the lumps, he referred me to the breast clinic at Peterborough hospital. I left the surgery, text my Mum and went back to work to wait for my referral letter.
And do you know what, none of that was that scary?
Even someone saying it might be cancer was not that scary, as I’ve been vigilant. I’ve checked my bumps, I’ve harassed the understaffed NHS to see me and they’ve squeezed me in to have a squeeze of me, the kind overworked souls.
Within three days I’d received my letter to make an appointment with the clinic for the next two weeks, which could be up to four in reality at this time of year.
Again, nothing too scary in this. Well apart from an insert with the letter that read: IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR URGENT APPOINTMENT WITHIN TWO WEEKS TO CONFIRM OR EXCLUDE CANCER. DO NOT DELAY: PLEASE GIVE IT PRIORITY AND ATTEND THE FIRST APPOINTMENT OFFERED.
Really? I thought the appointment was to get a KFC and whack my tits out for random people.
Chances are it’s this section of the letter that prevents you from getting one of your bumps out and checking them.
Yes it could be cancer but it could also be your glands, your hormones, a benign lump, a change in your muscle, an STI, rash, fat… it could be a million things so go and get it checked out.
But either way, ignoring or hiding the lump on any part of your body doesn’t help anyone involved. Check your boobs, get them out and tell a doctor how you feel.
Likelihood is, you don’t know what it is – you aren’t a doctor – which means you’re going to have to get it out for someone else to tell you what it is. And do you know what?
You are not alone. People around you may not have told you that they had a lump or a swelling or a spot not their boob as, well, when do you bring that up?
There isn’t really a coffee time for lumps on bumps talk (even though there should be).
All of my Aunties, my Mum, my Mum’s friends have been to the breast clinic at the hospital. They were all referred by their GPs to have a scan as they’d found something that needed checking.
I got nervous before I went in, but it was absolutely fine. I was seen first by a Male doctor for the screening and then by a man for the ultrasound. He explained that my glands had grown over a little bit of fat and that had been the lump that I felt.
It was completely normal. He said, “It’s always worth getting it checked out, and today it’s good news.”
YAY. I ate chocolate to celebrate.
But I say the same to you, it’s always worth getting something unusual on your body checked out. It might be something, but it might be nothing, but you know for sure – there’s no sneaky surprises.
You’re not wasting anyone’s time, you are just looking out for yourself.
If in doubt, Coppafeel have a great Boob Check 101 to carry out every month.
Be vigilant my peaches, check yourself often and don’t shy away from conversations around lumps on humps/lady lumps/bumps. It might just save your life.
Do you regularly check your boobs?