At 50, Jayne Dandy was feeling fit and healthy when a post on her Facebook timeline caught her eye. The post, shared by her Weight Watchers coach, had originally been written by Hayley Browning.
Browning had been diagnosed with breast cancer just three weeks earlier, and wanted to share a “little trick”.
“I could only feel the lump whilst lying down and it completely disappeared standing up,” the UK woman explained in her post. “Most websites tell you to check for lumps in the shower, but if I had followed this advice, the lump may have grown too large to be treatable.
“So, this is a callout to all women to check for lumps lying down, as well as standing up.”
That night, Dandy discovered a lump in her right breast. Her doctor told her that she had an aggressive form of cancer. Dandy went through a mastectomy and a course of chemotherapy.
She has recently been given the all-clear.
“I really think it was fate,” Dandy told The Sun.
“I am and will be eternally grateful to Hayley Browning for sharing her story on Facebook that fateful day.”
LISTEN: Kids’ entertainer Tina Harris opens up about surviving a battle with breast cancer, and how it affected her family time. Post continues after audio.
Dandy says she didn’t drink or smoke, was extremely active, and hadn’t felt unwell at all when she received the diagnosis.
“It’s a sobering thought to think that but for that one post, things could have ended up with a very different outcome for me.”
Meanwhile, Browning, who now works for Breast Cancer Care, says she was “overwhelmed with emotion” when Dandy contacted her.
“When I wrote the post, I never imagined the reach it would have and it’s really thanks to every single person who shared it and helped get the message out there.”
Browning’s post, from February 4 last year, has been shared more than 200,000 times. It’s hard to know exactly how many lives it has saved. But reading through the comments on Browning’s Facebook page, it’s clear that it’s helped a lot of people.
“Two weeks after reading this, I found my little tinker (whilst laid down),” one woman wrote. “It’s just been removed and I await radiotherapy. I feel incredibly lucky but your post is the reason I feel so lucky.”
“Yesterday my consultant told me that my op had been successful and all I need now is radiotherapy and meds,” another added. “I wouldn’t have known about it if I hadn’t taken your advice. I’m forever grateful to you.”
Professor Sanchia Aranda, the CEO of Cancer Council Australia, tells Mamamia that there isn’t any “right or wrong” way for women to check their breasts.
“But anything different should be checked out straightaway,” she adds.
“Cancer Council encourages all women to be breast aware and keep an eye out for any lumps or changes in their breast, including those that can only be seen or felt when lying down.”
Professor Aranda says it’s also really important for women aged between 50 and 70 to participate in breast cancer screening.
“A mammogram can pick up a cancer in your breast before it can be felt,” she points out. “The earlier cancer is detected, the better the chances of successful treatment.”
LISTEN: We hear from kids’ entertainer Tina Harris what it’s like to take your kids on the road, and how breast cancer taught her to let everything go.