The breast cancer check doctors don’t tell you about

A simple check could save your life.
Self examinations are an important part of prevention.

A woman has taken to Facebook to share her story after she discovered a lump in her breast in an unconventional way.

Hayley Browning was diagnosed with breast cancer after she found a small lump while she was lying down on her bed.

While most doctors recommend doing a self examination standing up, Hayley said she could only feel the lump when she was laying down and that it disappeared when she stood back up.

The discovery only happened by chance and now Hayley says she wants to do all she can to spread the message.

“I’m hoping to share a little trick of mine with as many people as possible, which could potentially help save someone’s life,” she wrote on her Facebook page.

“3 weeks ago, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I could only feel the lump whilst lying down and it completely disappeared standing up. Most websites tell you to check for lumps in the shower but if I had followed this advice, the lump may have grown too large to be treatable. Not even the surgeon could feel my lump when I was standing up.

“So, this is a call out to all women to check for lumps lying down, as well as standing up.

“As I think about my long journey ahead and the chemotherapy I will undertake, I want to reach as many people with this message and help find more #LaidBackLumps.”

Breast Cancer Network Australia recommends getting to know your breasts so you can pick up changes more easily and get checked out by a professional faster.

While most women will feel for lumps as a potential sign of cancer, there are other things to look out for too.

Dimples, swelling, or red and flaky skin around the breast can all be symptoms something isn’t quite right. Other signs can be discharge from the nipples, pain in any part of your breast or lumps under your armpit.

While the general advice is check your breasts while you’re in the shower or in front of the mirror, the Breast Cancer Network Australia also recommends checking while you’re in the bath, which would play into the point Hayley is trying to make.

Doctors will also usually check your breasts for lumps and changes while you a laying down, further pointing to the argument that you should do the same at home. 

Aside from regular screenings, self examination is the easiest way to see if there are changes occurring in your breasts.

Heyley’s message has already been shared over 150,000 times, with thousands of people sending her words of support. There is hope that her post will help other women find the early signs of cancer and beat the disease.

Do you regularly self examine your breasts? Have you had any experience with breast cancer?

  1. Rosemary  

    I had a niggly pain in my side just below my armpit.After an X-ray and MRI They found a lump in my boob.After a test it came back benign but my surgeon said it was the right size and shape so it had to be removed. I was lucky-my surgeon said someone was definitely looking after me.But I didn’t feel the lump so I guess don’t ignore anything bothersome.

  2. Janice  

    Same thing happened to me, I was lying down on my bed and found a lump, got up and had a shower and couldn’t feel the lump, laid down on the bed again and felt it, that was 28 years ago ( I was only 34 years old),would certainly recommend checking your breasts laying down.

  3. Susie  

    Thank you for this information, i will share this too!

  4. Susan  

    My gynecologist always told me to self examine while lying down – I have never done it standing up !

  5. Mary Heffernan  

    I was mis-diagnosed twice when I had breast cancer in 1997/8 – once by my GP, who told me I was “lucky it was painful, as cancer’s not painful”, insisting that it must be mastitis, (which I did get, but as I pointed out to him, I get mastitis in both breasts, but had a lump in my right breast and not in my left one), and again by a gynacologist (female) who said much the same thing. Only that I could see it growing (it was ductal) and kept pushing for further tests did an ultrasound pick up that it WAS a malignant cancer, not mastitis, and yes, 10% of cancers ARE PAINFUL, which mine was. So after a partial mastectomy, lymph glands taken from under that arm, and weeks of radiation therapy (no chemo, as it wasn’t in the lymph glands, thank God!), I haven’t had a recurence in eighteen years. So far so good!

    • Alison Barnes bl  

      My name is alison Iam 59 years old I had a C.t. and there was a lomp in my left brest it is 17mm. Then I went and had a U.S they could not find any thing so I went back to the doctor and arrange for me to have a mammograms. Alison

  6. Di  

    I get a little annoyed that the focus is so much on Mammograms. For detecting Ductal cancer absolutely but I had invasive lobular carcinoma which is not detected by mammogram. Only 10 – 20% of women, particularly those with dense breasts get this one. Mine was 50mm and the reason I hadn’t realised there was a problem was because my other breast had a fibrous mass that mimicked the cancerous one. I found mine in the shower after I had seen a brilliant ad on the TV telling women what to look for. Raised my arm and the nipple went right in. Attached = breast cancer = and it was. Chose double mastectomy as very high chance it would come back in the non cancerous one. It is not just what is published in what to look for but important regardless. With heavy breasts, I had never lifted mine up to see if there were dimples underneath – there was. I thought my very slightly pulled in nipple was because it was getting squashed in my bra. Finally – I thought it didn’t relate to me as I have 35 first cousins from a family of eight and not one has had cancer – except me. So do not believe the genetic norm – my family don’t get cancer – you can.
    Well done Hayley for putting this out there as education is the key to being safe.

  7. Pamela  

    Please don’t forget your underarms

  8. Joanne Hughes  

    Whilst I found my lump by chance, it was NOT detected on a mammogram, my surgeon could see no evidence on the films ! Ultrasound found it.

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