Ok so there have been quite a few questions on the Cancer thing, so I thought I’d tackle some of those burning Q’s with some straight talking, honest answers. So here goes…..
There are lots of different types of Breast Cancer and it can be pretty confusing. They normally fall into two brackets – invasive and non invasive. However there are also other less common types of breast cancer including, yes you’ve guessed it, Pagets disease – which is what I have, (not to be confused with Pagets disease of the Bone which as the name suggests isn’t so much boob related, more bone specific, obviously..)
Pagets of the breast is actually a pretty rare Breast Cancer, accounting for only one or two out of every 100 cases of breast cancer. Most of these cases are women over 60 years of age – so at 32 I seem to have got the “old lady” kind of breast cancer. Nice. Old lady boobs, yeap, that’s me.
The annoying thing about Pagets is that it’s bloody hard to spot. From a young age us girls are told to get to know our boobs, to have a feel and be on the look out for any lumps. Lumps = trouble, lumps = cancer (not always obviously but that’s the kind of thinking most of us have when it comes to self checking). But what I’ve discovered, rather annoyingly a little too late, is that Cancer doesn’t always mean lumps. In fact in my case Pagets just presented itself as a small dry patch on the nipple. That’s it.
There are lots of other symptoms that people may get, but for me that’s all it was. A small dry patch. No lump. No pain. Nothing else to be suspicious of. Just a small patch of dry skin. Crazy really. When I showed my girl friends recently (we all squeezed into a loo at a restaurant – one of the girls is 6months pregnant so it was pretty snug!), their first reaction on seeing it was “Is that it???” – Yeap, that’s it. It’s disappointingly small and a bit boring actually. It doesn’t scream cancer in a scary “ooohhhh, what the hell is that?!” way. Quite frankly I’d prefer a bit more drama but there you go, it’s just small and a bit…nothing actually.
The other sneaky thing that Pagets does is that it sort of goes away, yeap the sneaky bugger actually clears up from time to time so you continue to convince yourself it’s just a weird skin thing – nothing else. In fact, on average, most people wait 6-8months before going to the doctor to get it checked out, because they simply think it’s nothing….
And should you finally get yourself off to the docs there’s a chance it still won’t be spotted. As I mentioned before Pagents is much more common in older ladies and as it presents itself in a very similar way to eczema, a lot (yes a lot!) of younger ladies simply don’t get diagnosed early enough.
The point of me saying all this is simple. Get to know your boobs when they are normal! Seriously. By knowing what your boob (and body for that matter!) looks like when everything’s normal, you’ll know when somethings not…..normal. Don’t just dismiss it as something insignificant. ANY CHANGE, AT ALL, NEEDS TO BE LOOKED AT!
And don’t take no for an answer, if it doesn’t go away, go back to your doctor again and again and again and again!
Shout as loud as you can, for as long as you need to, to anyone that will listen, over and over again – “MY BOOBIE DOESN’T LOOK NORMAL!”
That should get you some attention ;0)