One question I am asked frequently is, “So did they find this on a routine screening?”
It is a logical question to ask. I turned 40 last year. The guideline is that women should begin receiving yearly mammograms at age 40. I can’t remember for the life of me why I never scheduled the screening. Either the doctor didn’t think it was necessary or I was in the process of packing and buying a new house. In any case, it didn’t get scheduled.
I have always been good at regular self breast exams. It’s part of my shower ritual. The stress of putting my house on the market, selling said house, buying new house, moving and going back to school put most things in my normal routine on the back burner. This included the self exams. In the Fall the brain fog lifted and I fell back into my old routine.
This is how I discovered that there was something that just wasn’t right.
I posted this photo of myself on instagram the other day.
Somewhere in the depths of the internet there is a photo and subsequent illustration of me in profile that accentuated my… ahem… chestal area. Had memes been popular at the time I’m sure it would have become a very well known Tacoma meme.
I’d posted the photo and received quite a few likes for it. One was from an organization called Keep A Breast. It’s an organization you know, but didn’t realized you knew. They’re behind the i <3 boobies campaign. I scrolled through their images and was inspired by one. I also have been keeping myself busy by working on lettering projects on my iPad.
Not only was I inspired by the photo, I was inspired by the whole campaign. Keep A Breast’s mission is all about educating young women and men about self-exams. More often than not, breast cancer in young people is discovered by a self-exam. If you think about it, yearly mammograms aren’t called for until age 40. So how does someone like my very dear friend, Kate, find that she has breast cancer at age 25? You guessed it… self-exam.
If you are not in the habit already I highly encourage every one of you to conduct a self exam at least on a monthly basis. Even if you are over 40, do it. Please. It may save your life.