Each year, October is pinkified as every one runs helter skelter to show their support for Breast Cancer Awareness – the one campaign October is now synonymous with. I must confess I get a little jaded. I’m sorry! I realise I should be talking about it, because it is a pretty perfect fit for my blog. But you see, after 4 years of thinking pink in October, I tend to think “Whats the point of talking about it one time in a year when BSE is really a monthly affair?” I wore my pink ribbon proudly the first few years, and then when things got a little too commercialized I just left off.
But it was as I thought that, that I realised that October isn’t just about breast cancer – it is for Breast Cancer Awareness. We can be blinded by the pink around us, and the hustlers urging us to buy something pink to support their BCA cause, but what it ultimately is about is “awareness”. I know of a family friend who’s lost 2 sisters to breast cancer. I don’t know if they knew it might have been detected earlier and their lives saved or if they even knew it was possible.
Let us (and me) leave aside our cynicism and remember that what this campaign is about is to raise the awareness of breast cancer, and to remind us that breast cancer can be cured with early detection. Breast cancer is not a death sentence. But early detection is key.
All women should conduct your own Breast Self Examination (BSE) every month. No one else knows your own body as well as you do and you will be the best person to notice a change and get medical advice if necessary. All it takes is just 10 minutes.
How to do a Breast Self-Exam
- Lie down in a comfortable position and place your hand behind your head. You will examine the breast below the arm behind your head e.g. right hand = right breast and vice versa
- Use the finger tips of your other hand and gently palpate your breast without lifting your fingers from the nipple outwards. You want your fingers to cover as wide an area as possible to ensure you cover the whole breast area. Keep your touch light.
- Familiarize yourself with your breast so you notice any changes in it.
- Do not only examine your breast and nipple area, but also the area around your breast
- Include checking in and around the arm pit. Sometimes lumps can start at the nodules in the arm pit
- End by lightly squeezing the nipple and check if there is any discharge – no discharge is good.
I was taught how to do a BSE at a gynaecological check up a few years ago which is pretty much what is summarized here. I do recommend you ask a doctor to teach you how to do a BSE because they will be able to tell you if you are doing it right and also tell you if what you are feeling is normal. The breast is mostly fat with a muscle underneath so sometimes, it can be worrying to feel the muscle and think its a lump, without realizing that its normal. So I do recommend seeing a doctor and getting everything cleared for normality so you then know what to expect of an abnormality. How else will you know if its abnormal right?
The other thing of course is when to do it – right after your period. If you do it before, the results will not be accurate because breasts sometimes swell before your period so you don’t know what your normal breast feels like. Naturally, pregnant women will also feel differently so it is probably best to check with a doctor for these things.
If you notice an anomaly, get it checked out – it could be nothing, or it could be a valid concern but there is no use sitting at home worrying. As with all diseases, the earlier it is detected, the higher the chances of being cured so in keeping with the Awareness theme, be aware of this and if the time is right, go and do your BSE.
Breast Cancer Awareness Campaigns
The Estee Lauder Group runs an annual BCA campaign where they raise funds for NGOs and non profit organizations. Locally, they support the Breast Cancer Welfare Association (BCWA), Cancer Research Initiatives Foundation (CARIF) and provide free or subsidised mammogram screenings through The National Cancer Society of Malaysia (NCSM) and College of Radiology Malaysia. Funds are raised by direct donations, or through the sale of limited edition items in the under the brands in the Estee Lauder Group of Companies.
Something like this one – Evelyn Lauder Pink Ribbon Collection (RM85) (tiger not included)
You get a pink pouch and a limited edition shade of Estee Lauder Pure Color Shimmering Lipstick in Wildly Pink with 20% of the retail price donated towards breast cancer research. There is another set with a lighter shade of lipstick. I realize this is pretty much me breaking all my personal rules, but I really liked the colour of the lipstick and I get it at its usual price (or maybe even a wee bit cheaper) and a useful pouch (been looking for one small enough) and I do a little bit for the cause. You can purchase it at any Estee Lauder counter while stocks last. I picked mine up at the Estee Lauder Pink Fashion Night Out at Pavilion KL (ongoing till 16 October till 10pm) before the lighting up in pink of 3 iconic areas in Kuala Lumpur – KL Tower, Sultan Abdul Samad Building near Dataran Merdeka and Jalan Bukit Bintang.
Also, speaking of boobs, Woopz Bikinis has a Woopz <3 Boobs Campaign where the person who shares the most creative way of raising the awareness of monthly and regular Breast Self Exams stand to win a free bikini. So use your social media channels to get the word out! For a small and new outfit I think they have taken the right track of not just asking you to buy a pink bikini to support Breast Cancer Awareness, but to actually make you think about getting family and friends aware enough to perform their BSE. Kudos to them and if you’d like to participate even if just for fun, here’s the link to the contest. Do support their cause because they really aren’t asking you to buy anything! Contest ends 31 October, and for the record, I’m not participating just giving them a shout out so you can 😉
Do you do a breast self-exam regularly? Do you know how? I know this isn’t something one really discusses around the dinner table but it might be something to think about, and to talk to your family and friends about. See your doctor if you have to, to learn the proper techniques. Ultimately, its your health and your boobs you’re saving.
A Public Service Announcement from your friendly local beauty blogger 🙂