When was the last time you checked your boobs? Yeah, I’m jumping straight in, because this one is important. We wrote recently about the importance of attending your cervical smear test so it’s only right that we also address the boobs too.
I’m not sure if it’s because my mum is a nurse, but she always drilled into me the importance of checking my boobs. As a teenager, this was amusing as I was still waiting for my boobs to come in (spoiler, I’m 34 now and I’m still waiting), but it doesn’t matter how big or small yours are, if you have breast tissue, you could get breast cancer. This means men can get it too, FYI. So tell your men.
Boobs are naturally a bit lumpy and bumpy, so it’s important you get to know them so that if something changes then you notice it. You can have a feel in the morning before you get up for work, in the shower after the gym, or even while you’re sitting watching Love Island and living your best life. Or, you can ask your partner to get involved, maybe he/she is well versed in the shape and bumps of your boobs? I’m sure they’d be more than happy to accept your invitation to ‘cop a feel’ (yep, you’re right, that transition is seamless).
Coppafeel is the first breast cancer charity whose sole purpose is to raise awareness in young people. Why is this so important? Well, 55,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK each year and early diagnosis and early treatment give women the best chance of survival. So, what do Coppafeel do as part of their mission, well, my favourite thing (and the reason I chose Coppafeel as my WILTM) is that you can sign up for monthly reminders to ‘Coppafeel’. That’s right, you’ll receive a text message every month reminding you to check your boobs. The last one I got said:
‘It’s getting hot in hurr
So take off all your clothes
… then put your hands on your boobs
And check them (please and thank you)
— Nelly, 2003’
That’s talking my language!
With your monthly reminder, you can’t forget to up your boob knowledge. Now that we have you covered for getting ‘hands on’ with your boob checking (yep, I went there) you should probably know what you’re looking for. Coppafeel also has this information on their website along with a handy little video and test to make sure you were paying attention, but I’ll list the symptoms below.
- Changes to the skin (puckering/dimpling)
- Swelling in your armpit or collarbone
- Lumps or thickening
- Pain in your breast or armpit (the kind that doesn’t go away)
- Discharge from the nipple
- A rash or crusting around the nipple area.
If you have periods then it’s important to remember that your boobs will change with your cycle, so get to know your boobs, make friends with them, learn everything there is to know about them. That knowledge could save your life. Not to be dramatic…
Many of these things might be easier to spot by looking at your boobs in the mirror, so don’t be afraid to look at yourself naked when you’re getting dressed or coming out of the shower. If you spot or feel anything unusual go to your doctor as soon as you can. If you do have any of these symptoms, it doesn’t definitely mean you have cancer, but wouldn’t it be nicer to have a doctor tell you that you’re fine than worrying about it? And if the news isn’t good, then you have a better chance with the treatment if you start it early.
Cooppafeel was started by Kris and her twin sister Maren after Kris was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer at the age of 23… Kris received the diagnosis in 2009 and has been living with incurable cancer since then. She started Coppfeel after finding that most of the information aimed at people with breast cancer was for people in their 50s and nothing was designed for breast cancer patients in their 20s. This is probably something that we need to do more of, as it’s a familiar story to that of Lauren Mahon from GirlVsCancer who was diagnosed at 31 (Lauren is the same age as me and for some reason that resonates with me quite a lot!), she’s now in remission and is also campaigning to raise awareness and to encourage people with breast tissue to check it!
So for the sake of women’s health (and guys, too, obv), I’ve made Coppafeel my WILTM and I think you should click through to their website and sign up for monthly reminders. And if reading this hasn’t made you check your boobs already then why not? This is the perfect opportunity (unless you’re at work/on the bus., etc) please go and do it now or at least set yourself a reminder to do it when you get home. I checked mine today, make sure you check yours.