Friday, 24 January 2014

Breast Health!

I have noticed in the media that the subject of breast health is only really marketed at older women. Free breast screening for women over 65, breast cancer awareness adverts mostly show you images and stories from older women apart from one TV advert that was on last year and not much if anything is told to younger women about breast health, breast cancer or even how to do a breast check. I also have to mention that men can get breast cancer too.

They tell you that early detection gives you the best chance, but they don't tell you when you should start checking your breast how to do a breast exam, how often to do a breast exam and if there was a lump what you should do about it. I couldn't find any information on breast cancer or lump detection in younger women on any New Zealand websites.

It's pretty safe to say that at 23 it wasn't really something that was on my radar. Until I felt a lump in the shower a few months ago. To tell you that my heart skipped a beat is probably an understatement. When I was younger a family friend passed away from breast cancer at a young age so my mind instantly thought about that.

Then my stubbornness kicked in and I thought 'No I'm just imaging this, It's nothing.'

A couple of days past and I was starting worrying about it and thought no I have to do something about this. I booked an appointment to see my doctor and he checked it, then referred me to the hospital.
It was a month between my doctors appointment and my appointment at the hospital, the wait was honestly the worst part of the whole ordeal. The surgeon at the hospital did an ultrasound and said that it was most likely something totally harmless, but I needed to have a biopsy to make 100% sure.

A few weeks later I went in for my biopsy and this is the first time I had been to hospital since the 3 week stay I had after I had my daughter. (If you would like me to do a labour and delivery story I will but it's so long it will need its' own blog post) So I was pretty nervous about being back in hospital even though it was just for a simple procedure, I just wanted to get in and out as fast as humanly possible. The biopsy went fine, I'm not scared of needles so it didn't phase me too much. I was a bit more uncomfortable afterwards than I thought I would be and picking up a 15kg toddler probably isn't what doctors would advise after any kind of procedure anyway!

The results came back the next week and it turns out I have what is called a fibrodenanoma which is a benign breast lump. Which is the most amazing news! From now I can choose to have it removed or leave it there, my doctor is advising that I get it removed I just have to find the time to have the surgery. With a recovery time of 1 to 2 weeks I have to organise someone to help me with my daughter if my husband can't get time off work and make sure I don't have any business obligations during that time too.

So this is my call out to the media and awareness campaigns to start younger! To teach women how to do a self breast exam and educate us in what to look for!

Check your boobies!! 

Once your breasts have fully developed get to know what your normal is, and if anything seems out of the ordinary go and see your doctor! I count myself incredibly lucky and if this blog post makes one women go and check their breasts then it was worth while.

Love Robin x


  1. I think this is great awareness. I find the media attention for cervical cancer is the same - marketed towards older woman and women of Maori or Polynesian etnicity. I was 19 when I had an abnormal result on a smear that resulted in cells removed.

    1. Maybe something that even needs to start at a high school level. I didn't know I needed a smear until I was 20 and pregnant!

  2. It is really important to 'feel your boobs' I had a small lump in my early 20's too. They were pretty sure that it was just a cyst, after scans and the like, but as I have a family history (my grandmother died in her 50's) they did further testing. Thankfully all was good, but I was so frightened at the time.

    1. So important! Also important on how to do it properly and making sure you are checking the whole breast from the underarm. I do however like the recent campaign about taking note of what your breasts look like as changes to the breast or nipple can also be warning signs. Thank you for sharing, the more we share the more awareness there will be.


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