One in two of us will get cancer. That's the scary statistic. That is what we are told. Sometimes we get it because are genetically predisposed to it, sometimes it happens because of our lifestyle and sometimes, it comes from nowhere in particular. It's not choosey, it's not fair, it is pretty fucking shit.
Anyone who has followed the blog for a lone time will know that I am a huge supporter of The Eve Appeal, a charity dedicated to raising money and awareness for all five types of gynaecological cancer. Working with them I have encouraged women to get to know their normal (our vaginas, we need to get to know our vaginas), so that should something suspicious occur, we know what to look for. But it occurred to me that whilst I've been banging on about fannies and discharge and cramps and bleeding and whatnots, I haven't ever really spoken about tits, and I thought it was high time that I changed that.
I follow an INCREDIBLE woman on Twitter @GirlStoleLondon who has been documenting her fight/treatment/journey (there is no good word) with breast cancer. This morning I re-read her blog post about her diagnosis and before I had even finished it, I found myself frantically checking my breasts for lumps, (sorry for feeling myself up whilst reading your blog Lauren) until it occurred to me... I'm not sure what it is that I am looking for here. And I realised that surely I cannot be the only one who has had this thought, I can't be the only one who isn't entirely what she is looking for...
So, in the interest of encouraging women to know their normal 'upstairs' as well as 'downstairs', I thought I would pull together all the information for you so that you know what to look for the next time you cup a hand round your bosom.
First things first I want to say this: according to CoppaFeel's website, most breast cancers are first detected through self-checking- if that doesn't get you fondling then I honestly don't know what will! They also say that there is no wrong way to check your boobs so that's great too. Having said that, it will be easier when you know what it is that you need to be looking out for:
Statistics on their website show that one in eight women will experience breast cancer in their lifetime and that 400 men are diagnosed with it every year. Guys, it really is worth checking.
It takes 5 minutes to check your breasts. 5 minutes. And yet so many of us are putting it off, me included. Before today I don't remember the last time that I checked my breasts but I am sure that it must have been over a year ago. Why has it been so long? Am I scared? Would that be so wrong if I was? What if I did find something? What if I find something and I go the doctor and they tell me that it is nothing and then I've basically wasted the time of an already VERY overstretched NHS? Worse still, what if I find something and it turns out to be breast cancer? WHAT IF I HAVE GOT BREAST CANCER? (That's the speed that my mind moves at anyway, I suppose I can't really assume everyone is as loopy as me about these things...)
But really, whatever way we look at this, I think we can all agree that it is better to know. Doctors will not, I repeat NOT accuse you of wasting their time in any capacity. They want you to go in if you are worried, they want you to be OK, they are hoping against all hope that they find nothing wrong with you, so that is one thing that you absolutely do not have to worry about. The rest of it? It's normal to be frightened, but the sooner you check, the sooner you'll know and, God forbid there is something wrong? The sooner you know, the sooner it can be dealt with.
I'm sorry if I sound a bit Daily-Mail-Scare-Mongery, that is absolutely NOT my intention, but I did want to bring this up as it is something that is SO important. Let's do this girls, as often as we can. Please. Maybe not at your desk right now (unless your office is totally chilled with a tad 'o breast play) but in the bath this evening, in bed tonight, in the shower in the morning. Please find the time and create this habit. (I'm going to start putting a little reminder at the PNM Newsletter BTW, either subscribe HERE or put a damn reminder on your phone to go off weekly- tweet those to me, I wanna see you do that!).
Also, if you have a moment, please head over to the Girl Stole London website - it is my absolute favourite blog right now and my adoration for Lauren is never ending, it is well worth a read.