I discovered that I had Breast Cancer when I was in the shower one morning in November 2015.
I was in the middle of weaning my second baby and my breasts were, well, deflating a little every day.
Whilst washing, I found a lump. Not just a small lump either. It was the size of a grape, 2.5cms to be exact.
I immediately made an appointment with my doctor and just a few days later after scans and a biopsy, I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer. It’s a particularly aggressive and fast-growing breast cancer affecting just 15% of those diagnosed. It would be the worst one, wouldn’t it?
When the shock subsided I questioned whether there was anything I could have done to find out sooner. Had I missed something?
Those who have breastfed will know that your breasts really aren’t your own when you’re breastfeeding. Even so though, 2.5cms, how did I miss that?
I’ll tell you how I missed it, I was not doing regular breast self checks.
It isn’t that I thought I was immune to Cancer, but I had no history of it in my family and I was fairly young, at just 36 years old.
I asked myself, could I have found the lump earlier?
I don’t know and I don’t dwell on it. However I do encourage my friends, female and male, to check their own breasts regularly. I encourage them often!
I know I’m not alone because a recent study showed that more than half of women aged 25 to 39 rarely or never self-check their breasts. I can’t stress enough that this needs to change. Had I not found the lump in my breast as early as I had, well it might have been a very different story.
I underwent a lumpectomy and the cancer was removed. After a lymph node diagnosis, the results thankfully showed that the cancer didn’t look like it had spread. That said, I still underwent 6 months of chemotherapy and 3 weeks of radiation ‘just in case’.
The chemo was nothing like I ever imagined, it was very difficult at times and an experience I wouldn’t wish on anybody.
However, I’m alive. I caught and treated my cancer early and some women are just not as lucky as that.
When QV got in touch to tell me about their new campaign, it really excited me!
QV have partnered with the McGrath Foundation to turn an everyday moisturiser into a valuable asset to identify changes that could possibly be an early sign of breast cancer.
It’s the QV Self Check Breast Cream and it’s been designed to help women self check their breasts as part of their everyday skincare routine.
So busy women can incorporate this simple step into their current skincare routine! If you’re like I was, someone who forgot to do the checks, popping this step into your regular skincare routine is going to become a habit and action that you just do. No need to set aside extra time. No excuses.
Jump out of the shower, stand in front of the mirror and LOOK for changes like dimpling and redness. Then, LOVE your pair by self checking while you moisturise – don’t forget under your armpits! Finally, take it in, LEARN what’s ‘normal’ for you, we’re all different so knowing what yours feel like and look like will help you notice anything different.
I just know this is going to result in so many more women getting to know their bodies better and noticing if changes occur. Plus your ‘ladies’ deserve to be looked after!
If you are unsure how to self check your breasts, there is a detailed guide inside each pack and I also recommend asking your GP to show you how to check your own whenever you next visit.
Additionally, $2 from every pack sold will go directly to the McGrath Foundation, a charity so close to my heart. It will be available exclusively to pharmacies.
This amazing product is going to be released in October this year for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I will be stocking up. On the subject of stockings – wouldn’t this be a great stocking filler gift for Christmas for your female friends, mums, sisters and more?
I can’t stress enough how important it is to get to know your bodies. Know them well, know when things have changed. It scares me to think that had I not been as vigilant as I was, my story might be quite different.
I found my breast cancer early and thank goodness I did.
My hope is that this campaign reaches many more women and encourages them to be vigilant too.
Girls – get to know your bodies and encourage each other to do so too! I #PledgeToCheck, will you?