Nearly one in eight U.S. women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. However, thanks to advanced research and improved treatments, many women are successfully beating their cancer diagnosis. Additionally, breast self-exams are also helping thousands of women to help save their own lives, as early detection is key in treating cancer.
One woman from the U.K. shared a very important message on Facebook that we’d all be wise to remember when thinking about breast self-exams. Hayley Browning, a 27-year-old British woman, posted that she’d just been diagnosed with breast cancer three weeks prior after finding a lump in one of her breasts.
But here’s the rub: She could only feel the lump while lying down. As she wrote in her Facebook post, the lump “completely disappeared standing up.”
Browning’s message is incredibly important, because as she points out, most women are told to check for lumps in the shower. The theory is that this is the perfect time, as women are unclothed and free to reach and feel every nook and cranny. However, as Browning points out, this might not be enough, and she credits her self-exam while lying down with saving her life.
Her powerful message is gaining steam, and women across the globe are sharing this crucial news with one another to help save lives and protect our health.
Sadly, many women are intimidated to check their own breasts for lumps. They figure they don’t know what they are doing, or that their doctor will notice if anything is wrong. However, no one knows your breasts better than you do, and experts say that this knowledge is key in detecting early signs of breast cancer.
These signs could include a change in how the breast or nipple feels, a change in the breast or nipple appearance, and/or any nipple discharge (especially clear or bloody discharge).
Here are some visual aids that might help you figure out what to look for:
Remember, you know your body best, so trust your intuition and don’t be afraid to get a second opinion if you feel like your doctor isn’t hearing your concerns. You are your own best health advocate, and your voice has power.
And, as Haley Browning proves, we should also use our voices to advocate for other women and ensure that we are all being proactive about our health.
h/t: Good Housekeeping