A plea.

Hand on heart, honestly and truthfully, how many of you ladies can say that you regularly check your breasts? If I was being honest, 6 weeks ago I’d have said ‘Yes. Sometimes. Um….No, not really.’ 6 weeks ago I’d have balked at the idea that a fit, happy, otherwise healthy woman in her 20s, or 30s, or God forbid her teens, could fall prey to the evil bastard that is breast cancer. Not that I’m naive, in fact I’m fairly well educated in this area-I studied Diagnostic Radiography at university. I am aware of the physical, emotional and psychological effects of the disease, I understand the statistics. But breast cancer particularly is simply not associated with the aforementioned demographic. This needs to change.

6 weeks ago I was in the bath, getting ready to shave under my arms. (Armpit hair in women…WHY?!) As I lathered up, the tips of my fingers skimmed across something they shouldn’t have. Even now I can’t call it a lump, it wasn’t the ‘hard, pea-shaped lump’ I so frequently read about. It was more of a squished broad bean…a 50p shaped mass of cells that, no matter what they were, defnitely shouldn’t have been sitting halfway between my boob and my armpit. To cut a 3 week long story short, I am OK. Better than OK, I’m in good health and thankfully do not have breast cancer. My ‘lump’ is a benign mass that should go away on it’s own. I’ll be poked and prodded again in 6 months time to make sure everything’s as it should be, but I am healthy and I am happy again.

I was going to go on to talk about those 3 weeks in more detail, how I felt and how I dealt with the ‘what if’s’ and the ‘maybe’s’. How Phil and I dealt with all those things, together, as husband and wife. Suffice to say, I was a wreck and he was my hero. I think that ‘in sickness and in health’ needs its own post though, mostly because I don’t want to detract from the real message here.

Whether you’re old or young, tall or short, blonde or brunette, a doctor or a salesgirl; cancer does not discriminate. It knows no bounds and cares about nothing. It needs to be caught and it needs to be battled. I know that I’m in an odd position up here on my soapbox-I’m fine so why am I wittering on? When I first went to my GP, she was sufficiently bothered by my ‘lump’ to point me in the direction of CoppaFeel! If you go and take a look around Kris’ AMAZING charity and take a little time to read her story, you’ll see why I’m here today, bothering you the way I am. Yes, I’m fine. But somewhere out there, there might be someone who is not fine. And the more aware we all are of our bodies and how we can look after them, the more likely it is that we’ll help save a life…whether it’s our own or not.

Ladies, if you do nothing else today, check your breasts. Please.

Categories: Health
7 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted December 21, 2010 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    How scary for you, Aisling, but I'm so glad that it's not something to worry about.
    And you're completely right about checking – it's so easy to be blase about it, but I feel like every year another person I know is diagnosed with some kind of cancer, and if this is just one thing we can do to keep an eye on our bodies then we really should. Right, as soon as I've posted this I'm going to check my breasts.

  2. Posted December 21, 2010 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Oh god! That must've been really awful. I promise I will check. xx

  3. Posted December 21, 2010 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    My friend was diagnosed with breast cancer just over 2 yrs ago, at the age of 39. Another friend was diagnosed with ovarian cancer when she was 25. They're both doing really well, but they've both had a hell of a time. Cancer doesn't care how old you are, or how fit and healthy you seem. This is a really important post, thank you for the reminder.

  4. Posted December 21, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    I'm so glad Aisling decided to post this – it was such a horrible time for her, which thankfully ended well, but for so many women the outcome isn't so happy. I am embarrased to say I hadn't checked in probably 5 years, but hearing what Aisling was going through means I now make sure I check them every week.

    Oh and w, ell done Aisling for being so brave throughout the whole thing – I'm not sure I'd have coped anywhere near as well xxx

  5. Posted December 21, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    You poor thing – that mustve been a stressful few weeks.

    Glad all is well, checking now on the to do list!

  6. Posted December 21, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    I went through something similar about 3 years ago Aisling… and it's horrific! It causes such a melting pot of emotions for yourself and those close to you. I am so so happy to hear your well though… as am I. I check regularly and even make a point of getting Gavin to double check for me sometimes (to which he never objects).

    I really think that people need constant reminding though, recenently a friend of mine (26) won her 2 year battle again breast cancer and friends rallied round to host a load of "Save the Boobies" fundraisers for Breast Cancer Research. They went so well and raised over £20,000. So please ladies, take heed.

    And on that note, I'm off for a quick feel in the loo's.

  7. Posted December 21, 2010 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    Ladies, thank you so much!

    Naomi and Eliza-I'm SO glad your friends are all fighting fit and healthy, that's amazing. And the fundraising-WOW. Awesome.

    It really is incredible how many women under 40 are affected by cancer. If raising awareness one person at a time is how we can help save lives, then that's what we need to do.

    Much love to you all you fabulous bunch xxxxxx

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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