October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Go Check Your Boobs.

2011 Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I’ll be honest. For the past few years when I blogged about October as the Breast Cancer Awareness month, it was probably one of the few months when I actually did give myself breast examinations. Call it sheer laziness on my part.

Long-time readers will know that in March this year, I had a bit of a boob scare. I found a lump the size of a golf ball on my left breast. It freaked the hell out of me because 1) my family did not have any history of cancers, much less breast cancer and 2) I thought I was too young to get cancer. I know. I was a moron.

After getting severely told off by my GP, I had breast ultrasounds, an excruciatingly painful mammogram (seriously, those hospital brochures that show you happy, smiling ladies at the mammogram machine? THEY ARE LYING THEIR ASS OFF), and a core biopsy of the breast. After consulting the breast surgeon, it turned out I had to have it removed.

The surgery went smoothly. The mass turned out to be a phyllodes tumour of the breast. It was, thankfully, benign. However, there is a slim chance of the tumour returning, thus I have to be diligent in self-breast examinations from now on.

A few days ago, I had another breast ultrasound and I’ll be having a 6-month review with the breast surgeon the following week. According to the radiologist, the films appear normal. I do have dense scar tissue, but nothing seems to be out of order. I’ll know more after further examination from the surgeon.

What I’m trying to say is, I was lucky. It could have been something a lot more serious (the lump was so big; I could feel it by just lightly brushing my hand across my boob). I would have known about it earlier and gotten it excised before it grew. I should have gone to the doctor to get it checked when I first found out about the lump. Instead, I decided to only do it after my month-long break in Malaysia. My GP saw red when I told him I decided to wait. Again, I was a moron.

Moral of the story is: check your boobs regularly. If there’s something you’re even slightly unsure of, see a doctor. If you have family history of cancer (of any sort), you should be even more diligent in your self-breast examination. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Take care of your boobs. Small or big, they are yours, so look after them well :)

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11 comments… add one

  1. LeGeeque

    Should note too that the best time to do a boob check is right after your period’s ended. Also, there’s no harm in requesting for a professional check by the doctor. My doctor usually does an exam for me too once she’s done with the papsmear (yuck. ew. yuck. but yea, gotta be done. ew.yuck. ew. ew. ew)

    1. Tine

      LeGeeque: Oh yeah, I received reminders in the post a few weeks ago to go for my pap smear. Ugh, that’s the one I am SO NOT looking forward to. The GP I went to for pap smear was crap, but thank goodness she’s no longer at that clinic. Time to search for a new one that wouldn’t make me feel violated :(

  2. Eli

    One of my mum’s close friends refers to the mammogram machine as “that kuih kapek machine” and swears that it makes her boobs sag. Pap smears aren’t that bad, just a bit uncomfortable. Reminds me, time to schedule one. *groan*
    Eli recently posted..Part 1: In the Land of the FreeMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Eli: HAHAHAHA OMG I laughed till water squirted out of my nose when I read “kuih kapek machine” :P I remembered the technician who was there, telling me stories about old ladies who do it, and don’t feel anything ‘cos the boobs aren’t dense anymore. Most of the time they looked like squished pancakes :P

      My first pap smear was quite uncomfortable, mainly because the GP stuck her fingers in the second time without even informing me first. I felt violated :(

  3. しずか ♥ (heartofpearl)

    My mum was diagnosed with breast cancer and it was the first in our family history. It’s more ‘real’ now so I have to check it but I’m so scared to find a lump I sometimes avoid the check. I am being a moron. So again your post reminded me how important it is. Thank you .. ><
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    1. Tine

      Shizuka: I didn’t know that love, I hope she’s all right now. Yeah, since she has had it, it would mean you’ll have to be extra diligent in doing boob checks too. It’s okay to find a lump, as long as you catch it early, then your chances are very good. So don’t be afraid to give your bazoomas a bit of a fondle :P

  4. Jen

    Yes its very important to check these things no matter your age!
    I’ve know a few people to get it.
    I only found out yesterday but did you know 100 men a year are diagnosed as well.
    Jen recently posted..Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2011 Beauty Buys!My Profile

    1. Tine

      Jen: I know! Imagine my shock when I found out a few years ago that men can get breast cancer too. I was like, WHAT?!

  5. Nadia

    I’m glad you’re all in the clear now. Checking boobs and doing pap smears are probably one of those necessary things we all must do but ones that we all forget to do easily. I myself fail at that. I try to remind myself, but doesn’t work that way. Lucky for those reminders I get from the doc! Your post is also serving as a timely reminder for me. :)
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    1. Tine

      Nadia: Thanks Nadia. I think what scared me shitless was the fact that 1) no history of cancer in the family and 2) man, the lump was massive. Even the surgeon commented on that. She actually excised a lot of the tissue surrounding the lump so that the problem will not return, but when the mass was sent to the lab for checks, they found out that even with the surrounding tissue removed, there are still traces of the phyllodes tumour which weren’t removed. This means that there’s a chance the lump will regrow.

      I have my GP check mine now. A bit weird, given he’s a dude, but he’s very professional about it, and even when Tim’s there, he always gets a female staff to come to the room when he does the exam. The only part I don’t like is that the docs tend to press really hard! :P

      1. Nadia

        Can’t imagine how you felt when you found out and hopefully nothing untoward is to become of those unremoved traces. Praying for your good health.

        I have my GP check mine too since I’m always afraid that I might do it wrongly or something. My GP’s normally a dude too, haha, but when I do these female parts checkup, I book in with a female doc. I’m paranoid that way! LOL!
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