Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women in South Africa, in fact, 1 in 28 women will develop it, but still, some people don’t know the signs to look for or even how to check their own breasts. And, that’s a problem!
“Breast cancer doesn’t discriminate – it affects all ages, races and it doesn’t care if you are rich or poor,” says Strawberry Lips marketing manager, Vanessa Nel.
Not going to lie, we understand it can be awkward to just put your hand in your bra and squeeze. Especially if you don’t know what you are doing. But, the Strawberry Lips #YouChoose how-to guide is here to show you what to do. All you need are your hands, a mirror and a few spare moments.
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR:
- a lump that wasn’t there before
- an area of thickened skin
- a change in the shape or size of one or both boobs
- a discharge from your nipple
- a lump or swelling in your armpits
- a change in the look or feel of your skin (puckering or dimpling, a rash or redness)
- an eczema-like redness, crusting, scaly or itchy skin or redness on or around your nipple
- a change in the appearance of your nipple
LET’S GET STARTED:
You should be checking your breasts around the same time every month, just after your period. When you start doing this regularly enough, you’ll get to know your boobs pretty well and you’ll be able to pick up quickly when something is amiss. So, close the blinds, lock the door, put your phone on silent and let’s get to it.
Stand in front of a mirror and look at your boobs and underneath your armpits for any changes to their appearance. Keep your eyes peeled for anything that you think is different. Is there a rash you didn’t notice before? Does your one boob suddenly look bigger than usual? Don’t be afraid to get up close for a proper look – your body is yours, and no one else is going to do it for you. Once you are satisfied you have looked in every nook and cranny, you can move on to step two …
Using the flat part of your fingers, move them around in a gentle circular motion. Feel across your breasts, nipples, under your armpits, right up to your collarbone. You are feeling for any lumps – these can feel quite rounded, soft, and tender
Let’s say you’ve found something, now what? First, don’t panic. There’s plenty it could be that isn’t cancerous. But, don’t ignore it. Call your doctor up and book an appointment or head to your nearest public hospital breast clinic, CANSA Care Centre or Clicks to get tested for breast cancer.
“As scary as a cancer diagnosis is, the good news is that through early detection more patients survive and beat cancer,’ explains Vannesa. “The importance of early and accurate detection just can’t be over-emphasised enough.”
Anybody can be affected by breast cancer: your gran, ma, aunt, sista, bestie… So spread the love, by sharing what you know about breast cancer. Because keeping your loved ones protected issa vibe!