Question about SBE and your feelings on them

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Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 44
   Posted 4/27/2005 1:14 AM (GMT -6)   
Since I've been faced w/"the lump," I have been talking to a few close girlfriends about self breast exams.  They have all admitted that they hate and rarely do them because they have no idea what they're feeling.  To them, it's all foreign, lumpy, unknown "stuff."  If they do do them, it's not often and leads to frustration...and fear.  They know they NEED to do them, yet they feel like there's no way to know what's what.  I was talking to my dad about this today (he's a nurse) and we both agreed that there should be some kind of education, w/health professionals, that can teach women what is "normal" and what should be "looked into." 
My question is, do you feel comfortable checking your breasts?  Not comfy as in actually performing the exam, but knowing what you're feeling?  Do you think there should be more education in regards to knowing what you're feeling?  Would you go to a class that could teach you how to distinguish between a rib, a milk duct, or a lump? 
I am thinking of trying to come up w/some sort of "class" that could help overcome the confusion and fear that (so it seems) so many women have.  I would think I could team up w/some local health pros to do this.  But I'd like to know if there would be an interest in it.  That's where you guys come in!  :-)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1106
   Posted 4/27/2005 1:53 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Louieloui, I was actually very "regular" at doing my SBE's. I think that the important thing about doing them is not necessarily knowing WHAT the things you are feeling are, but in doing them regularly, you notice when something is DIFFERENT than it usually is. I had been to the Dr several times as I had lumpy, dense breasts and sometimes I would feel something that I did not remember being there before. Thank goodness I did, as the last thing (lump) was cancer. I know that there are other ladies on this board that either found it themselves, or their husband's did.
As far as a class to help educate, I say great! The more that is done to help with early detection, the better!! L&H, Gail
 It's only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth -- and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up, we will then begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.   Elisabeth Kubler Ross

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2272
   Posted 4/27/2005 5:48 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Lou-
My lump, which was 2.5 cm and cancerous, was found by me, totally by chance. At 30, I was not doing SBE's, but just sort of stumbled on it and said, "what's that? I don't remember this before." When I asked the gyn how he could tell the difference between a cancerous and normal lump, he said you can't, which is why you need to get familiar with the brest "landscape" and have changes evaluated. Everything I have read says the same....we are not necessarily able to tell a lump from normal tissue, but you need to know the landscape. Get familiar with every nuance....of course have anything unusual checked out....but if you know you have a lumpy area at 10:00 on the right side, then each month you will check for changes. Change is the key. They want us to know when there are changes...not that we have to know if it is a milk duct or a rib...but know the changes.

You may want to check with the American Cancer Society or Susan Komen Foundation. They have information on SBE and you might use that as a starting point. I think Susan Love's book has good info too.

Good luck-

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 829
   Posted 4/27/2005 8:47 AM (GMT -6)   
SBE saved my life. There needs to be some education on the subject. I ignored mine for the first couple of months because it wasn't a "lump", just a big mass.

I yell at my daughter and granddaughter about it. They both have the cards in the shower that tell them what to do.

This education needs to start at the ob/gyn level and the drs need to forget the words "you're too young". Those 3 words have killed a lot of young ladies.

A good friend will bail you out of jail...
but a true friend will be sitting
next to you saying,
"Dâmn... that was fun!".

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2044
   Posted 4/27/2005 9:43 AM (GMT -6)   
I had a fibrocyctic mass in my left breast. The doctor found it during a routine check up and after that I checked it on a regular basis. One day I realized there was a small bump on the side of the mass. It felt like a little pea. And, yes, it was cancer. The important thing here is, I knew what was "normal" and realized when something changed. That is the key. The American Cancer Society has a breast form with lumps in it, so women can learn the techniques of a Breast Self Exam. And, like Jo-Ann said, there are shower cards available. Lori and Gail make an important point, the idea behind a BSE is to learn what is "normal" and recognize any change. You can do a real service to your friends by becoming the leader in getting them to do BSEs on a regular basis. Call you ACS office and see what kind of assistance they can offer. Good luck. Hugs, Lauri
"Go confidently into the direction of your dreams. Live the life you always imagined" Thoreau
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 4/27/2005 10:35 AM (GMT -6)   

I live in WV and used to work for the home health agency so we also had a training session when some one fron the american cancer society came with the breast forms so we could learn how to check for cancerous lumps so when i found a lump in my left breast that was shaped just like a finger i thought well it is not cancer so i waited a few months before i went to a doctor and after a mamogram that didnt even see it even though i could and the doctor could feel it, the doctor told me it was dense breast tissue  not to worry about it but to watch it and go off my premarin and it should go away. well i did that after 1 and a half nonths it had gotten quite large so i went to another surgen and had a biopsy and wouldnt you know it is cancer.

so i cried for a few days and waited till the 5th day when i was scheduled for a mastectomy. it all happened to fast. i still cant get used to the fa t i actually have cancer at the age of 48.  and worse yet i am minus one breast. the thing is so ugly i cant hardly look at it i wont let my husband see it.

i plan to ahve reconstructive surgery after i am through with any chemo i have to have where i will also probably loose my hair is there anything worse in the world. i guess i should count my blessings that i am alive and i do.

but this is so hard  so i guess it would be prudent to have any lump biopsied. i will from  now on. for sure


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