Some have lemons, others have melons.
Some of us have small mosquito bites, others have puffy lady pillows.
Some of them are pendulous pumpkins; others, deflated balloons.
I’m talking about breasts, of course. Given that half the world’s adult population owns a pair, we NEED to talk about them.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month all over the world. So I joined the Kirribilli Neighbourhood Centre’s yarn bombing team, led by the talented and oh-so-crafty Narda Campbell. Together, we knitted and crocheted the whole place pink. It was a lot of fun and worked marvellously in getting community talking. I must admit, my only contribution was the paltry swatch you see covering that bench below.
I’ve seen every institution from the Cancer Council, to talk show host Ellen Degeneres to the finalists on The Block spruiking the ‘Think Pink’ message. While it is great that more and more organisations are showing their solidarity for breast cancer, I fear that the main message is getting lost in the hype and the hoopla. I fear that it’s becoming more about the pink ribbons and pink t-shirts and less about actually getting women to do a breast self-examination or making an appointment for a mammogram.
Take myself, for example. I know the stats: one in every eight women will get breast cancer. Yet, I have no idea when I last did a breast self-examination. I don’t give my breasts a second thought. They’re barely there. The only time they looked perkily perfect was when I was pregnant and later, while I was breast feeding. As milk machines, they performed their job to pert perfection. But the minute they got retrenched, their egos deflated. Hello, Victoria’s Secret!
But I’m not going to put if off any longer.
It’s one thing to be “breast aware” but another thing to translate this awareness into action.
There are heaps of websites and videos that will show you how to do a proper breast self-examination. So do it NOW! Repeat every single month. Diarise it like you would all the important events in your life.
You can do this in the shower, lying down or in front of a mirror. Feel for any lumps, look for changes in the size or shape of your breasts and/or nipples. Take note of any unexplained pain or nipple discharge. And above all, trust your instinct. If you feel something’s amiss, don’t dismiss it.
So tell me, are you aware of Breast Cancer Awareness Month? Have you done a breast self-exam recently? What’s the strangest slang word you’ve heard for breasts? Have you heard about/seen yarn bombing?