How to self examine your breasts #FeelitontheFirst
March 31, 2015
Do you remember how I was diagnosed with breast cancer? I was 23 years old and found lumps in my left breast but I didn’t do anything about it. I assumed it was nothing! In fact, when my family doctor examined me, she told me not to worry, “It’s probably just a cyst!”
She signed a referral paper to get checked just in case. I called the 3 numbers indicated one by one. “Hi, I’d like to book a mammogram!” “Date of birth please?” the secretary asked in return. “November 7, 1988!” All 3 hospital gave me the same answer, “Sorry, we don’t give mammograms to women under 40.” Well that solves everything, I thought to myself. If they don’t give mammos to women under 40, it must be nothing!
When I saw my doctor months later, I told her how the hospitals refused to give me a mammogram because I’m too young. She looked at me and shrugged, “You were supposed to ask for an ultrasound, not a mammogram Nalie! Young women’s breasts are too dense for mammograms.” So she wrote another referral paper highlighting the word ULTRASOUND.
Long story short, I took my sweet a** time to even book that ultrasound. It had been a full year since I initially found the lumps in my breast.
July 8, I did my ultrasound. July 9, I had a biopsy and mammogram. July 10, I met my Oncologist. And on July 17, 2013, the results were in: I had breast cancer.
I always wonder… had I not waited so long to get checked, would I have needed such extensive treatment? Maybe a lumpectomy would have sufficed rather than…16 rounds of aggressive chemotherapy, a full mastectomy and 29 rounds of radiation.
I always wonder… what if I never got checked at all? Would I still be here today?
Well.. I’m here now: Cancer Free! And I made it my mission to remind you how important it is to check your breasts and take control of your lives! How?
FEEL IT ON THE FIRST!
Here’s the secret to examining your breast:
It’s not about doing it right, it’s about doing it REGULARLY!
So on the first day of every month, I want you to feel yourself! Yeah girl. Both literally, and figuratively.
Get to know your breasts and remember what they normally look and feel like! Look out for any changes.
Here’s what to look out for:
- Size or shape
- Lumps in the breast, upper chest or armpits
- Swelling of the breast or arm
- Orange peel skin
- Dimpling, pitting or puckering
- Localized feeling of warmth
- Ulceration or wound
- Visible vein
- Skin shrinkage
- Spontaneous Discharge
- Eczema or ulceration of the nipple
If you find anything, visit your doctor immediately! And from experience, if you find a lump demand for an ultrasound! If you’re under 40, remember… an ultrasound, not a mammogram! A clinical examination just won’t suffice!
Keep in mind, that not all changes are breast cancer! In fact, it’s quite normal for our breast to change due to the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, lactation or aging. But it’s better to be safe than sorry!
DONE FEELING YOURSELF? Prove it! Post a picture with a purpose!
Snap a selfie of you feeling your breast! Post it on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter with the hashtag #FeelitontheFirst. Tag at least 3 of your girls and encourage them to do the same!
The more women are comfortable “feeling themselves” the more lives we save!
Need more info? Check out my favorite sites on self-examination below:
- The Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation’s BreastsObservation.org ( A taste of your Team Nalie Money! What what!)
- Rethink Breast Cancer’s Man Reminder TLC App: Touch. Look. Check. (Ladies, you’re going to want to watch this video… haha!)
Wondering who these beautiful women are? The goal of this video is to empower women to take control of their lives. Many women are afraid to feel themselves and find any changes, but early detection is key to survival! It takes independence, courage, strength and determination. Qualities that each and every one of these girl bosses possess! Get to know these inspirational women below and follow their journey:
In Order of Appearance
Join the Movement! Help me share this video as much as you can! And don’t forget to snap a picture! Feel free to tag me @nalieagustin so I don’t miss it!!!
Thanks for your help! Be kind to yourself.