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Checking for lumps while on treatment?

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Re: Checking for lumps while on treatment?

Hello Carolan

 

Thanks for posting. You can see from Shi and Jaybro’s post there are different opinions on breast awareness and examination.

 

We’ve moved away from routine breast examination and encourage everyone to be breast aware. Being breast aware means getting to know what your breasts look and feel like normally (for you). This will then give you the confidence to notice and report any changes to your GP or hospital team. It’s important to remain breast aware during and after treatment for breast cancer. If you notice a change then do let someone in your treatment team know.

 

It may be of interest to know that Coppafeel! take the breast awareness message to schools and other organisations or events aimed at younger people.

 

You may also like to know about the range of free services we offer. It might be particularly helpful to speak with someone else who had triple negative breast cancer. You can do this through our Someone Like Me service.

 

We often find we can help people more by speaking to them on the phone. Your call will be confidential and the number is free from UK landlines and all mobile networks.

 

The number is 0808 800 6000 (Text relay prefix 18001).

 

Our usual opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm and 9am to 1pm on Saturday. Out of hours you can leave a message and we will call you back when we next open.

 

Thank you for contacting us. Please contact us again in the future if you have any further queries.

 

Kind regards

 

Jane

 

Breast Care Nurse

 

Breast Cancer Now Nurse

 

Please read the Ask Our Nurses disclaimer

 

This thread will now be closed from further replies. If you have any additional questions or would like to provide feedback, please start a new thread.

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Community Champion
Community Champion

Re: Checking for lumps while on treatment?

Carolan ❤️ A good book that helped me was surviving triple negative breast cancer by Patricia prijatel. Please jump on the Oct 2019 chemo starters forum if you want, they are amazing bunch on there and you can all 👭👭💪💪🥊🥊🥊together ❤️ I am just me and my vigilance is because I feel like at least I am trying to do something to be more aware of my body like you are being with yours. It is everyone’s own journey and everyone does what they want, their own way in their own time ❤️💕💕shi xx

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Re: Checking for lumps while on treatment?

I agree. You do what's right for you ! I don't mean to frighten people I love into becoming paranoid but I want them to have the best chance of a good outcome. At the minute it's early days for me ( only had first chemo two weeks ago ) I have started checking again as wound healed and feel more confident to find what's normal for me. It's with real fear of finding anything I have to admit... I brace myself. 😬.  I think for me hearing Shi's story ...2cm to 5 cm in 6 weeks tells me everything I need to make the right choice for me 🤔 x

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Community Champion

Re: Checking for lumps while on treatment?

Jaybro ❤️ You do what’s right for you ❤️ If you want to check daily then do if you want to check when you want do ❤️Everyone has to do what’s right for them there are no hard and fast rules. I’d been so busy with work etc etc that I’d not given a second thought to check myself regularly but at 45 no other symptoms sneakily tucked away hidden right deep inside there it was and if I’d not put bra on a different way that day I’d have been oblivious till who knows when, so that’s just why I am vigilant. I am not neurotic just vigilant ❤️ Everyone has their own journeys and they do what’s right for them ❤️ 💕💕shi xx

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Re: Checking for lumps while on treatment?

Hi Carolan and Shi

 

This is a really interesting exchange of views. I used to teach all Year 11s and Sixth Formers how to examine their breasts properly in PSHE and Health Education and I felt a real hypocrite as I only ever gave mine a cursory swipe in the shower. Teaching it was only possible because there wasn’t then a national curriculum for the subject and, as head of faculty, I was free to devise whatever lessons I believed necessary.

 

I went to my doctor because of two tiny blisters on my areola. She found a lump between my ribs, under some scar tissue, but I couldn’t feel it even then. I’d had a clear mammogram so neither of us, nor the consultant, was worried. Yet a month later, I learned I had two tumours, two forms of cancer, skin eruption, and 19 out of 21 lymph nodes infected. The mammogram had failed to identify cancer even though it was well-established. Fortunately there was no evidence of spread and I’m currently NED. Could anything even in the surviving breast withstand the onslaught of chemo?? It seems to destroy anything in its path.  

 

But a recent conversation with my breast care nurse (the head of the team) surprised me. She is not a fan of breast examination, believing that it keeps us in a breast cancer mindset when we should be aiming to be free of it. The annual mammogram should be enough. This may be because of my personal circumstances of course (I shall be monitored regularly by the oncology team), although she did say she doesn't examine her own breasts. I confess that I like her idea. Now I’ve only the one boob to poke and prod but it would be nice to forget about it all for a while. I am completely taken aback by the idea of daily checking. So now I’m confused...

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Community Champion
Community Champion

Re: Checking for lumps while on treatment?

Carolan, it would be fantastic if it were taught in senior school to help raise awareness for future generations. I read they are going to have the menopause in the curriculum ( not sure how true that is or when they plan to implement it) but if it is true why can’t they add other important things to the curriculum like this and other things and their symptoms. Hopefully one day this will be reality so future generations are able to be vigilant ❤️ 💕💕shi xx

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Re: Checking for lumps while on treatment?

Exactly. Some people actually admit they don't know how to check. They know the more obvious signs to look for puckering, inverted nipple etc etc but how to physically check.. no. So I now I demonstrate 😳 ( I was a school nurse for a number of years and always taught it with a dummy boob whenever I got the chance )  ...and I recommend good visuals on the web on technique ! 

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Re: Checking for lumps while on treatment?

Carolan, I understand, I was 45 when diagnosed by Chance I put my bra on different way and felt it, at diagnosis it was 2cm, by operation 6 weeks later it was 5cm. I tell everyone to check and to tell everyone to tell everyone they know to check all the time. I’d rather people think I am crazy or boring when I go on about it, but by talking about it we are all helping raise awareness and who knows a conversation we have had with someone could help another person 👍 💕💕shi xx

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Re: Checking for lumps while on treatment?

Thanks for that ! My gut was telling me I should but wasn't sure if chemo would 'disguise' things or I was being precious 🙄. Its just so scary how quickly this appeared. I can see the horror on people's faces when I say I had clear mammogram less than 6 months before ..so if that encourages people to check more then I'll continue to alert anyone who will listen. 

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Re: Checking for lumps while on treatment?

Hi Carolan, I have checked myself daily since diagnosis back in 2017 and will always do so and any other ache, pain or anything straight to docs. Luckily the trust I am with are outstanding and any concerns in the breast area they get me straight in and check everything out. I was tn so I just keep super vigilant. You have to do what’s right for you, I don’t think I am ott with checking, I am being vigilant which is what my trust want us to be. Hope this helps 💕💕shi xx

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Checking for lumps while on treatment?

I am currently having chemo for grade 3 triple -ve breast cancer. Lumpectomy and sentinel lymph node removal end of August. Good clearance and no spread. Should I still be checking my breasts during chemo ? Reason I'm asking is my routine mammogram was clear and less than 6 months later found this lump myself on checking. This cancer grew really quickly and it worries me there could be something developing in my other breast while all the attention has been on this one !