When life gives you lemons – By Gena Fraser
Breast cancer survivors in Mallorca have been getting together to share their experiences and raise awareness for the illness and most importantly the vital need for women (and men) to check themselves regularly for any changes in their breast tissue. Several of the women who have been part of the campaign work within the island’s nautical industry. The women were all interviewed by local writer and photographer Vicki McLeod, as part of the campaign.
“A common thread that ran through all of the interviews was the need to take control,” said Vicki, “to not be in denial of the chance of being ill and to seek the most appropriate treatment for the individual. Many of the women found their cancers by chance and had not previously been checking themselves regularly: I think it’s vital that we all put this into our health routines. Hearing their stories and getting to know the difficult times they had experienced was very emotional for all of us.”
You can read their full stories on island blog: www.mallorcamatters.com
Cancer Support has launched a I Love My Lemons campaign designed to encourage everyone to take more notice of their bodies. There’s no right or wrong way to check your breasts. But it is important to know how your breasts usually look and feel. That way, you can spot any changes quickly and report them to your doctor.
Every woman’s breasts are different in terms of size, shape and consistency. It’s also possible for one breast to be larger than the other. Get used to how your breasts feel at different times of the month. This can change during your menstrual cycle. For example, some women have tender and lumpy breasts, especially near the armpit, around the time of their period. After the menopause, normal breasts feel softer, less firm and not as lumpy. Look at your breasts and feel each breast and armpit, and up to your collarbone. You may find it easiest to do this in the shower or bath, by running a soapy hand over each breast and up under each armpit. You can also look at your breasts in the mirror. Look with your arms by your side and also with them raised.
See your doctor if you notice any of the following changes:
– A change in the size, outline or shape of your breast
– A change in the look or feel of your skin, such as puckering or dimpling
– A new lump, thickening or bumpy area in one breast or armpit that is different from the same area on the other side
– Nipple discharge that’s not milky
– Bleeding from your nipple
– A moist, red area on your nipple that doesn’t heal easily
– Any change in nipple position, such as your nipple being pulled in or pointing differently
– A rash on or around your nipple
– Any discomfort or pain in one breast, particularly if it’s a new pain and doesn’t go away (although pain is only a symptom of breast cancer in rare cases)
Breast changes can happen for many reasons, and most of them aren’t serious. Lots of women have breast lumps, and nine out of 10 are not cancerous.
For more information contact:
The Cancer Support Group
Cancer Support helpline on +34 659 887 455