Join The Girls’ “get-to-know-our-boobs” Revolution – it’s time to “talk boobs.”
MOMS – Do you think your daughter is too young to worry about something as scary as breast cancer? Think again! Women, yes even young women, are dying every day because our breasts, especially our nipples, are a “taboo” (sexualized, hush-hush) topic, and so we are too embarrassed to really get to know them or to talk about our concerns if we have any. They are like a “don’t touch” area.
In this day and age breasts have become almost pornographic – and it’s killing women. It isn’t doing babies much good either. Even most pink ribbon Breast Cancer prevention campaigns photos show plenty of pretty ribbons – but NO BOOBS.
Young people DO get breast cancer!!! Even young people with a healthy lifestyle and no family history of breast cancer can contract the disease. For some reason, breast cancer is striking women at younger and younger ages, the world over.
Girls as young as 10-year-old Hannah are being diagnosed with breast cancer. She had an itchy spot on her chest that wouldn’t go away, but she put off telling her mother because she was embarrassed.
Web MD’s Dr. McAndrew tells us the youngest patient he had seen was 18 when she felt the mass, and 22 by the time she finally diagnosed with breast cancer. She kept telling doctors that she felt something and was worried about it, but they dismissed it because she was ‘too young.’
Embarrassed – In many places, our breasts are no longer are even considered proper vehicles to feed our children. Think about how badly many people react to a woman nursing her infant at the mall – as though she were copulating in public! They shame her, demand she cover up or go to the restroom; they look away, red-faced. Women are even under pressure to wean their babies early or not to nurse at all, even though breast milk is the absolutely best and safest food for infants, because it’s, well, just too sexual for some people.
As moms we are often embarrassed to talk honestly to our daughters about having breasts, what to expect as they develop, about the benefits and joys of breastfeeding our babies, about boobs and sex. Often boobs don’t even enter into the “birds and the bees” talk.
Given these attitudes, do you think young women are embarrassed about “feeling their breasts up?” About perhaps putting a name to how their breasts FEEL, other than big or small? Although more and more young women are rebelling and reclaiming their bodies, including their breasts, from a prudish public, YES, most girls are embarrassed!
Every woman I know, old and young, wants to be sexy and have the “perfect figure,” and whatever that means to you, it almost always includes a set of nice-looking boobs. The thing is, we equate “nice-looking” to SIZE. BIG. Can you think of another attribute to your breasts?
It turns out that breast self-examinations by themselves are not very effective in catching breast cancer early. Current scientific thinking is that it’s more important to really KNOW your breasts through and through.
What do your boobs FEEL like and LOOK like when they are normal? Did you know everyone’s are different? Most women never look at other women’s breasts in the locker room.
The founder of youth-friendly breast cancer prevention site Coppafeel, Kristin Hallenga, was diagnosed with late stage breast cancer at age 23! She has one tumor in her breast and another on her spine. Her doctors had poo-pooed her concerns, and by the time someone finally took her seriously, the cancer had spread to her spine.
She founded the Coppafeel site and the #what normal feels like campaign because she wanted to make sure other young women could take better care of themselves. She had not advocated strongly enough with her doctors when she voiced her concerns. They didn’t believe someone so young could have the disease and so she was diagnosed very late – after the cancer had spread to her bones.
#whatnormalfeelslike is a campaign to encourage women and girls to really get to know their breasts to stamp out LATE stage detection of breast cancer. Click on the link and scroll down to get a visual idea of what they mean. You’ll see.
THE most important thing to know for early detection of breast cancer is – how do your boobs FEEL to you when they are normal? Like jelly? Like a beanbag? Bouncy? Spongy? After all, if you don’t know what they really feel like, how would you know if something changes?
You see – it’s not just a LUMP you are looking for.
- A lump, of course,
- Changes in size of a breast,
- Ongoing pain,
- Swelling, redness and rashes in both the breast and armpit areas,
- Changes to the nipples,
- Nipple discharge or
- Inverted nipples.
Teach your girl about her breasts and encourage her to feel them often – and not just for lumps. Yes, it’s OK if it feels good. Hurrah! Here is an assessment tool that can educate her about other protective factors to help prevent it, and without terrifying her, do let her know no one will notice something wrong before she does.
YOU – yes, you – can help prevent breast cancer!
Your own, of course, by getting to know your own breasts and being on the lookout for the 7 warning signs.
And you can help by spreading this message to young ladies everywhere:
“Coppa feel, my dear, and not just once a month. It feels good and it might just save your life. Be aware of the warning signs and the risk and protective factors, be a fierce advocate for yourself with doctors, and please enjoy a happy, healthy life.”