This is very personal but if it encourages one other twenty-something (or any age) to check their breasts, it is completely worthwhile.
I have had a lump in my left breast for many months, six to eight months I believe. While seeing a nurse for asthma in August I casually mentioned that I could feel ‘something’ in my breast, that I wasn’t sure if it was a lump and that I had a dull ache there. She was rude, told me that at my age I should be able to tell if it is a lump, wouldn’t even entertain the idea of checking and said that it is a doctors job.
With this, I ignored the lump. But the pain stayed.
Next time I went to the doctors, two weeks ago, I mentioned the lump. I had my first breast screening and my doctor kindly informed me that I am not ‘supposed to know what lumps mean’ but should be feeling the breasts to identify any changes. He felt the lump and referred me to the Breast Cancer Unit. What is amazing about this service is that you must be seen within two weeks.
So, my doctor had found a lump. It became real and I was scared, petrified even. I developed severe panic attacks and anxiety and in the last two weeks have lost a lot of weight. I knew it was probably nothing but the fact that it could be, well, this was enough to make me incredibly anxious. Nonetheless, supportive friends and family make it that little bit easier.
Today I had my hospital appointment, accompanied by my mum. I had a panic attack in the waiting room and felt like I was going to faint. I was taken to a room and seen by a very gentle and understanding doctor who checked and felt my breasts. Guess what? He actually found two lumps in the breast that I didn’t even think had any.
After more waiting I then had an ultrasound scan. Luckily, the lumps in that particular breast are benign and ‘probably cysts’ and while they are there, they are very small. The lump in my other breast, the radiographer believes is to do with my breast tissue. I now know how to accurately check these lumps and have been told to keep an eye on the size to make sure they don’t get larger. If they do, I’ll need to go back for another scan.
HUGE RELIEF. Massive relief. At the same time it has made me realise that I need to be more aware of my breasts. Although quite ignorant of me, I didn’t think it was that important at the age of 27.
Another good thing is that it has made my mum more breast aware. So, if you are a twenty-something and have never had a breast screening or checked your breasts, have a good feel. Then do it again, regularly, so you can identify any changes. Check to see there are no lumps, bumps or tender areas. If you have ANY concerns, visit your GP. It is so important to do this, even if you are in your twenties.
For further information, visit www.breastcancercare.org.uk/breast-cancer-information/breast-awareness