We are a family of lumpy boobed women. As far as genetic inheritance goes it’s a bit of a short straw, to be honest. Between myself, my sister and my mum we’ve definitely got our stamp duty’s worth out of the NHS breast screening services. With a happy heart, and thanking our very lucky stars, we are all here to tell the tale.
Finding a lump on your breast is a scary thing. No, it’s terrifying. It’s a pit of your stomach, feel physically sick, moment when you suddenly become aware of your mortality. I’m here to say, it’s not always something you need to worry about.
Ok, so we all know the advice. Check yourself regularly and whizz off straight to the doc if there’s anything unusual or different. Hands up? Who checks?
I found my lump because it hurt when I put my sports bra on. I cried half a mile into a run commute because of the pain and had to catch the bus home. A little fumbling and there it was; the tissue felt dense but there wasn’t a lump.
Having a sister is fab in these circumstances and we’ve each played the plus one down at the screening clinic. If you ring your surgery and mention the words breast and lump in the same sentence, it’s fast track time. Within days, after a quick warm-handed double check from my GP, I was at the hospital with a load of other worried looking women.
A trip to the clinic is a day out. Take a book and a good friend would be my advice.
For me, it was more flat-palmed breast fumbling, an ultrasound and then a diagnosis; all within a few hours. Yes, there was something there. No it wasn’t my emergent pectoral muscles from the impressive amount of swimming I do, (I asked more than once and even mentioned my Ironman!) Proper terminology aside, it was little cist wotnots that were affected by hormonal changes and became painful around the time of my period. A couple of paracetamol and stop fretting.
My sister’s first growth was a golf ball sized hard lump, discovered by her husband and which required a biopsy. They stuck a very long needle into her very large bosom and rootled around. She expelled a few lungfuls of air in discomfort whilst I giggled and remembered the episode of Button Moon where Mr Spoon bounces on Queen of Puddings, (true yet random 80’s reference.) Again, nothing to worry about.
I’m no medical expert. I’m not going to list cancer statistics. I just want to stress that, from our experience, often breast lumps are nothing to be concerned about. We knew this because we checked.
Knowing your body and being able to identify changes is important. Whether it’s your breasts or the rest of your body, be aware of what’s normal for you. Lumps, pains, moles, anything different; get to your doctor straightaway. The process is straightforward and the result is not going to necessarily be what you fear. In worse cases, early diagnosis is important.
Check. Keep checking. And get checked.