Did you know - not being comfortable with the size of your breasts could be stopping you from frequently examining them and noticing the changes that indicate breast cancer. In the UK, Breast Cancer is the most common type of cancer in women and the second cause of cancer related death, after lung cancer. Poor survival rates are linked with delays in diagnosis. Whilst mammograms are the most effective ways of detecting breast cancer, most are detected by women through self-examination of the breast and these methods are the best and most effective ways of reducing the mortality rate. A study at the end of 2017, posted in Body Image Journal, discovered that women who are unhappy with the size of their breast were less likely to self-examine, to notice changes and were more likely to delay seeing a doctor. This puts these women at a higher risk of breast cancer going undetected.

Feel for Lumps and Save your Bumps

Just under 400 British women that took part in the study. 75% were unhappy with the size of their breasts - 31% wished for smaller breasts and 44% wanted larger breasts. The study showed that the ladies that loved their breasts less were significantly less likely to do frequent examination and they had a lower confidence that they could detect a change. Women are averting the important practice of self-examination because they are uncomfortable with their own bodies and self-examination can trigger negative thoughts and so they avoid engaging with their body. The study itself suggests that improving breast size satisfaction may be a useful means of promoting improved breast awareness and self-examination. (Body Image Journal, 2017). If you are truly unhappy and self-conscious about certain parts of your body, you are likely to avoid it. And with 75% of women wishing they had bigger or smaller breasts, there are so many of us out there avoiding what’s on our chest either through touch or in the mirror.  

Get to Grips with Your Bits

Not so long ago, MYA posted an informative guide on how to self-check your breasts. This study shows that all those uncomfortable, negative emotions we have about our own bodies could be putting us at risk, and if we were to find anything wrong, embarrassment and shame could be scaring us away from consulting a medical health professional. Becoming more comfortable and having an improved love of your own breasts will combat the aversions and you will be more likely to self-examine, notice changes and of course get them out in front of the family GP.

Examination After Breast Implants

If you’re one of those 75% of women and have had, or are thinking about having, surgery to improve the size or shape of your breasts then loving your breasts, according to this study, is directly linked to improving your chances of detecting change in your breasts. Because you love your breasts, you will be more likely to self-examine them. If you’ve havd implants, then you can still self-examine. Ask your nurse or surgeon how to do so at your post-op appointments. You will still be able to have mammograms, just make your health professional aware that you have implants or have had surgery beforehand.