Breast Cancer: save yourself & grope yourself.

Students can show their suport and reminders by displaying ribbons, stickers, pins, shirts, etc.

Breast cancer, aside from non-melanoma skin cancer, is the most common cancer among women according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Breast cancer is something women tend to worry about and go to their doctors to get checked regularly when they are older. Although breast cancer in younger women is rare, it should still be a concern and women of all ages should become familiar with their body.

Feel the boobies

Leigh Hurst, the founder of Feel Your Boobies Foundation, found a lump in her breast that the doctors didn’t detect. Two years later she was diagnosed with breast cancer under the age of 40.

“Getting in touch with your breasts is the best way to be proactive.  Even though it’s unlikely that you’ll get breast cancer in your 20’s, it does happen, and your risk only increases with age,” Hurst said. “So getting to know how your breasts feel is important so that you are aware if a breast lump or other change occurs and can bring it immediately to a doctor’s attention.”

When Leigh was diagnosed, she realized that developing breast cancer is a risk for anyone – before she was diagnosed she was a devoted runner and a triathlete and had no family history of breast cancer.

Leigh, being a health conscious person, had not thought much about breast cancer and came to the conclusion that the message wasn’t out there enough for young women. So she created the Feel Your Boobies Foundation.

“’Feel Your Boobies’ may seem simply like a fun and provocative slogan, but it’s really our way of asking ‘Are You Doing It?’®,” Leigh said. “Well, are you?”

Many people laugh when they see the “Feel Your Boobies” stickers around or shirts that say “Boobies (feel yours).”

“Our goal is to remind young women to get in touch with their bodies,” Leigh said.  “We believe that our proactive reminder, ‘feel your boobies’, gets through to young women in a way that traditional messages do not.”

Feel Your Boobies is making lots of headway with over two million followers on Facebook and they are also one of the Top 30 largest Causes.

“Getting to know how your breasts feel is important so that you are aware if a breast lump or other change occurs and can bring it immediately to a doctor’s attention,” Leigh said. “Early detection is so important in ensuring survival of breast cancer, since the disease itself cannot be prevented.”

Breast cancer is close to the heart

Chelsea Stanely, a junior at University of Iowa is all too familiar with breast cancer.

“I am worried about getting breast cancer because it runs in my family,” Chelsea said. “4 out of 5 of my mom/her sisters have had it. My mom and one aunt have had it twice. My mom and my aunt that have had it twice, both had double mastectomies to try to prevent it from coming back a third time.”

Chelsea usually does self-exams in the shower once a week, which is a typical spot for women to check, and times it with her menstrual cycle. Also, OBGYNs usually check for you on the annual check-up.

It scares Chelsea that younger women are getting diagnosed because it runs in her family.

“To be proactive, I do the self exams usually every month, to detect any changes or abnormalities, have to doctor do an exam, and get checked out if something doesn’t seem normal,” Chelsea said.

Chelsea helps pass out the Feel Your Boobies stickers around and it helps remind her.

“Telling other people and making other aware is also a good way for me to remember; how can I forget if I’m reminding others?”

Kristyn Loeb, another junior, doesn’t have breast cancer lurking in the corners of her family’s past.

“I’m not really concerned with breast cancer because I don’t ever really think about it, which I probably should do,” Kirstyn said. “Since no one in my family has ever had it then I don’t really worry about it.”

Just because younger women are getting diagnosed, doesn’t mean everyone should worry. But exams and check ups are still a good idea.

“It doesn’t scare me, I think it’s good that women are being diagnosed [and catching it],” Kirstyn said. I have donated money for breast cancer funds and try to do whatever I can to help.”

Kristyn says she doesn’t really know how to do self-breast exams, and that is probably something that is harming women – the lack of knowledge.

Something that may help women is doing some research on it and putting up fun, friendly reminders to check yourself.

“Putting something in my room to help remind me to regularly do self exams would be helpful,” Kristyn said. “Something I see every time I come out of the shower, for instance. Also, if my friends are concerned about being proactive and checking themselves then we can try to remind each other whenever we can.”

What YOU can do

Monthly breast self breast exams are the best way to catch early signs. No one knows your body better than yourself, and as Leigh found out, the doctors may not catch it.

Talk to your doctor if you don’t know how to do a self-exam and your doctor can tell you what to be checking for during your exam.

Symptoms can be a small pea-sized lump or mass, discharge, marble-like hardened area under the skin, a change of appearance or feel, and/or redness of the skin or nipple area.

This doesn’t just affect women. Men can remind their friends, girlfriends/wives, and relatives to feel their boobies and go get mammograms. The earlier it is caught, the better chance there is to overcoming it.

Also, a small percentage of men can get breast cancer. Men’s most common symptom is Gynecomastia, which is an increase in the amount of breast tissue.

Check out Feel Your Boobies Foundation’s page and all the testimonials of women who did it http://www.feelyourboobies.com/ididit.htm.

So make sure to feel your boobies. Laugh about it, but then seriously do it.

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