Saints Community Development Foundation support the ‘First of the month check for a lump’ campaign that encourages people to check for Breast and Testicular Cancer.
First of the month check for a lump. Sarah Vaughan’s story
“I’d always thought I was good at checking for lumps until back in Dec 17 I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. I was shocked at the size of the lump and how I’d not noticed it develop. I then realised it was probably months not weeks since I had last checked, I suppose i’d become complacent and had a “this won’t happen to me” attitude especially aged 43”.
“I had a long road ahead of treatment and was almost kicking myself I hadn’t been more vigilant. I wasn’t alone, after talking to friends who also admitted they rarely checked their breast for changes or lumps it prompted me to raise awareness through a blog called @firstofthemonthcheckforalump which I began on the 1st Jan 18. The idea behind it is that if you check on a set date every month it becomes a habit.”
“Any changes that are noticed can be checked quickly by your GP as early detection for any cancer increases the survival rate dramatically. I learnt a lot in those first few weeks. 55,000 women will receive a breast cancer diagnosis each year. Breast cancer can present as visual changes not just lumps and guess what men can also develop breast cancer although it’s around 400 a year.”
So between chemo, getting married with a wig on and trying to remain sane, I got into the habit of posting on the first of every month to remind people when and how to check. It became a bit of a diary as I went throughout 6 rounds of gruelling chemo, surgery and then radiotherapy and although I brought dark humour and bared my soul to the blog it quickly became apparent that I was helping people and turning this negative experience into a positive.”
“I received many personal messages thanking me for raising awareness as they too had found a lump or noticed a visual change and were now being treated with a good prognosis from early detection. A really good friend had found a lump in his testicle and went on to be treated for testicular cancer. He said he never would have checked if it had not been for my campaign. Recently I have designed two posters for the back of toilet doors to raise awareness of Breast cancer and testicular cancer.”
We’re hoping that seeing this article can prompt people to get into the habit of checking every month. This is what you should look out for:
Breast cancer – Feel For Lumps. Save Your Bumps.
- A lump in the breast or armpit
- Dimpling or changes in skin texture
- Inverted or weeping nipple
- Changes to size and shape
Testicular cancer – Use your thumbs to check your plums.
- A lump or enlargement in the testicle
- Changes to size or shape
- Heaviness/pain in the testicle
- Change in texture or the testicle becomes hard
- A dull ache in the back or groin