I recently got to experience the joy of finding a lump on my left breast. It's small, ovalish, flat, and terrifying. Before you rush to the comments to tell me to go to the doctor- I totally did. That's where I was yesterday when I wasn't posting. I was LITERALLY shaking with fear. When they took my blood pressure, it was up to 154/90 and you could apparently see my heart beat. It doesn't help that I have an overwhelming fear of the doctor and the lump made the fear almost tangible. I still can't believe that I managed to go. I even managed not to cry once (did I mention my extreme fear of the doctor?).
The doctor at Planned Parenthood performed a breast exam and at first didn't even find the dang thing. I showed her and she felt it and I have a follow up appointment in February (where I plan on probably having a full on heart attack because it'll be THAT time of the year). She believes that it's nothing, but better safe than sorry! I'm to monitor it and report any changes in it immediately. At my age, it isn't very likely that I have cancer. Cancer generally (BUT NOT ALWAYS) occurs in older women, not 20 year-olds. However, they take these things seriously and want to make sure that it's okay, hence the follow up and today's article. I want my readers healthy! :D
It's recommended that you perform breast self exams (like the one below) and also go to your annual exam (PAP) with a doctor/gynecologist starting at age 21.
- You find a breast lump that's new or unusual
- A new breast lump doesn't go away after your next period
- An existing breast lump seems to have changed — it gets bigger, for instance
- You notice skin changes on your breast, such as redness, crusting, dimpling or puckering
- You notice changes in your nipple — it turns inward (inversion) or appears flatter, for instance
- You notice nipple discharge that's clear, yellow, green, brown or red.
CANCER: A malignant breast lump will have an irregular shape (not round) with a pebbly surface, somewhat like a golf ball. It will be very hard, like a slice of raw carrot. It may not be movable during a breast self-exam, but since tissue around it may move, it's sometimes hard to know if the lump is moving, or if healthy tissue around it is moving. A clinical breast exam and a mammogram will help to clear up the diagnosis. A needle biopsy would provide more information about the lump.
CYSTS: This breast lump will feel smooth and squishy. If you are pressing on a cyst, it will have some give to it, like a water balloon. A cyst can move around and can change in size during your menstrual cycle.
FIBROADENOMA: This will feel like a round breast lump, and can be hard or firm. It can be moved around during a breast self-exam.
PSUEDOLUMPS: This kind of breast lump can feel quite hard and usually doesn't change shape or size during a menstrual cycle. It may or may not be movable, depending on what it is actually composed of.
Make sure to where a bra that fits correctly and properly supports the ladies. Take care of your health overall to take care of your breasts. Overall, just stay vigilant. You're Batman and your body is Gotham.
Stay healthy, people!
<3 - CFC