It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, people! In past years, it’s something I’d give nominal notice to but this year it means everything to me in terms of advocacy. Did you know that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer? 250,000 new cases each year? That’s not just epidemic, it’s bullshit!!!!!!! I don’t know why this is happening or how to prevent it but I do know that with education it can be caught early.
That is why I’m challenging each and every one of you ladies to touch yourself this month. That is the first step you can take. And if you remember, that is how I found my cancer. That’s right. I FOUND MY CANCER!!!!!!! By daring to touch myself and know my body, I have (hopefully) saved my life. I’m going to have to go through hell and back to do it but I choose life!!!! I choose to kiss my baby until he finds it completely embarrassing and beyond! I choose to see the world! I choose to try new foods! I choose to educate new generations! I choose to give cancer the middle finger and get it the fuck out of my body!!!!!!!!
If you have never done a self examination or it’s been a long time (it’s like riding a bike or sex, don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it again!) here’s how to do it according to breastcancer.org
Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips.
Here’s what you should look for:
- Breasts that are their usual size, shape, and color.
- Breasts that are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling.
If you see any of the following changes, bring them to your doctor’s attention:
- dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin.
- a nipple that has changed position or an inverted nipple (pushed inward instead of sticking out).
- redness, soreness, rash, or swelling.
Step 2: Raise your arms and look for the same changes.
Step 3 and 4:
Feel your breasts while lying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few fingers of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together.
Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side—from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage.
Next, feel your breasts while lying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few finger pads of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together. Use a circular motion, about the size of a quarter.
Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side — from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage.
Follow a pattern to be sure that you cover the whole breast. You can begin at the nipple, moving in larger and larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast. You can also move your fingers up and down vertically, in rows, as if you were mowing a lawn. This up-and-down approach seems to work best for most women. Be sure to feel all the tissue from the front to the back of your breasts: for the skin and tissue just beneath, use light pressure; use medium pressure for tissue in the middle of your breasts; use firm pressure for the deep tissue in the back. When you’ve reached the deep tissue, you should be able to feel down to your ribcage.
Step 5: Finally, feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting. Many women find that the easiest way to feel their breasts is when their skin is wet and slippery, so they like to do this step in the shower. Cover your entire breast, using the same hand movements described in Step 4.
Now, I’m not going to lie. I didn’t go through all of this. Sometimes I’d just check in the shower or while in bed. When I found my lump, I was literally just playing around with the feel of my breasts post breastfeeding. It wasn’t even an official self examination at that point really. But as long as your feeling and checking and have some idea of what your breasts feel like normally, the more likely you are to catch something that feels off. And remember, most times it’s nothing. I’m just one of the unlucky ones.
Do you remember the song from 1990 I Touch Myself by The Divinyls? Remember how shocking it was to hear that on the radio? Well, the lead singer, Chrissy Amphlett was diagnosed with breast cancer and sadly died from the disease in 2013. But before she died, she repurposed her song into an anthem for women to begin touching themselves and learning about their body for the hope of early detection. It’s so powerful! I promise, you won’t be able to hold back the tears and goosebumps. You can watch the youtube video here and read the article about it here. Share it on your facebook and twitter pages. Oh, and don’t forget to share my blog, too! Thanks!!!
TOUCH YOUR TITTIES TODAY!!!!!