It is pretty embarrassing to admit it, but the first time I had a breast check was when I was in my 30s. I just kept putting it off because I assumed, like so many of us do, that breast cancer wasn’t something I needed to think about yet.
I don’t have a history of breast cancer in my family, so I had put it off. “I’m low risk,” I’d say to myself, “I don’t have to worry”. So I didn’t. Friends told me about finding lumps during a self-check, and I would think to myself “so glad I don’t have to worry about that”, and move on with my day.
Part of my avoidance was because I didn’t really know what to do. I have larger breasts, and for most of my life I’ve avoided acknowledging them unless I absolutely have to. I strap them into a bra (or sometimes two, if I’m doing an exercise class) and I try to forget they’re there. (Which, admittedly, is no easy feat.)
So when I’d been given information about breast checks as a teen, I’d shrugged it off, I’d even made little jokes with myself about how if there was a lump I’d never find it anyway in amongst all that soft tissue.
"Part of my avoidance was because I didn’t really know what to do. " Image: iStock.
But then I went for my regular pap test and my doctor looked me in the eye and said: “Have you been doing regular breast checks?” I squirmed a little and told her no.