Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Healthy Boob is a Happy Boob

Welcome to our first ever #CheckYourself!

Today we will cover the basics because a healthy boob is a happy boob! The only way you'll know if your girls are healthy (and happy) is if you know your girls. Its important for you to know what is normal for your girls because no two girls are alike ... including your two! This is why Breast Self Exams (BSE) are important, they are a tool by which you will get to know your girls.

In recent years there has been some controversy about the effectiveness of BSE as a screening tool. I've read that there are studies that show that BSE don't necessarily increase early detection or survival rates and can be blamed for unnecessary invasive medical procedures. I have also read that BSE can cause unnecessary worry in women. Despite these studies I do feel that when you have all the facts, BSE are a woman's first line of knowledge and defense.

Breasts are naturally lumpy, bumpy, texturally diverse things. They change as we age and they change as our hormones do their monthly cycle. has some really great info on their site about BSE. They liken your girls to neighborhoods.

"Breasts tend to have different “neighborhoods.” The upper, outer area — near your armpit — tends to have the most prominent lumps and bumps. The lower half of your breast can feel like a sandy or pebbly beach. The area under the nipple can feel like a collection of large grains. Another part might feel like a lumpy bowl of oatmeal."

Once you get to know your 'neighborhood' its important to keep perspective. The percentage of lumps found that are actually biopsied and are actually cancerous is relatively small, so if you come across something during your BSE don't automatically jump to worse case scenario. Make notes on what you found, when you found it and where it is. Make an appointment with your doctor and then LISTEN to what they have to say.
A good doctor will take your concerns seriously an educate you about breast health. The more you know the better prepared you are to take care of yourself. BTW - being prepared does not include googling breast cancer and reading every horror story on the Internet. Hope and common sense thrive in a mind that is protected, balanced and responsibly informed; don't feed your worries with whatever junk you come across.
When you actually get down to checking yourself its important to be thorough and consistent.  gives a comprehensive five step method of checking the girls, including pictures. I know this might be uncomfortable for some of you because it was for me, especially step 1, but I am going to tell you in all seriousness that step 4 was the first step to saving my life.
The point is, I want you to take responsibility for your own health. Modern medicine is full of miracles. Doctors and scientists have been clever enough to figure out all kinds of ways to screen people for all kinds of deadly illness. Check your boobs, your cervix, your colon, your heart. Check yourself, take care of yourself. You have an amazing life to lead and it would be a tragedy if you missed it because you were too embarrassed to be informed about your own body, your own health.
To fear is one thing. To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another. ~Katherine Paterson

1 comment:

Kristin J said...

The people who lived in our house before us installed a floor to ceiling mirror in the bathroom and glass shower doors. So whether I like it or not, I do step 1 and 2 from the Breast Self Exam nearly every day!