In case you have been living under a rock for the past month, October is all about breast cancer awareness. Indeed, in the marketing world, “to pink” means to link a product or brand to one of the most successful charity campaigns of all time.
A couple of weeks ago I interviewed Reese Witherspoon about her support for breast cancer awareness. We’ve recently had Giuliana Rancic talk about her fight with the disease – a woman in the public eye, like Kylie Minogue, who got breast cancer shockingly early. We all know, as we’ve been told by this incredibly important and brilliant campaign, that early diagnosis is key to survival.
Yet apparently at least one third of women do not self-check their breasts.
I have no excuse to be sporadic about this – but I’m ashamed to admit that I have been. My Grandmother died of breast cancer. Within months I had found a lump in one of my own breasts. The discovery was more by accident than by design, although I was in my teens, so perhaps I could be forgiven then on that basis. I was lucky and once the lump was removed everything proved fine – indeed eight out of ten lumps are benign.
However, I’m not so very young any more. Rancic’s diagnosis has made me take a hard look at my own actions. Aside from my own yearly well woman check-ups, I’ve not been giving myself regular breast exams in between. What am I thinking? That my ostrich act is doing me any good? Of course it’s not. And I wager the one third of women who are behaving like me are aware of this as well.
One in nine women will get breast cancer at some point in their lives – we women need to do a breast self-exam at least once a month. Clear instructions can be found at the NHS website. If you discover a persistent lump in your breast or any changes in breast tissue, it is very important that you see a doctor immediately.
Chances are – there’ll be nothing to worry about. And if there is, and you’ve found it early – there’s less to worry about.
So from this October on, I resolve to check – and if, like me, you too have belonged to the third, it’s time to join the majority.