Lumps aren't the only symptom of breast cancer and thankfully, we're increasingly wising up to some of the other symptoms, such as skin dimpling and discharge. One recent campaign even used lemons to illustrate them. But while we're becoming increasingly aware of the symptoms we should be looking for, the way we're told to check our breasts has stayed pretty constant. However, a quick feel in the shower or in front of the bathroom mirror isn't necessarily enough, as one woman highlighted recently. 27-year-old Hayley Browning, from Essex, took to Facebook on World Cancer Day (4th of February) to share the unusual way she realised she had breast cancer just three weeks ago.
Writing alongside pictures of herself in a hospital gown, she described the "little trick" which she hopes "could potentially help save someone's life". "I could only feel the lump whilst lying down and it completely disappeared standing up," she wrote. "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." Browning, who works for terminal illness charity Marie Curie UK, urged other women to check their breasts for lumps while 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." Browning's story and campaign have clearly struck a chord and the post has been shared more than 130,000 times on Facebook.
Many other women shared their similar experiences in response to her post. "My experience was exactly the same. Well done you for sharing this info," wrote one woman. Another wrote: "I was diagnosed four years ago and I was exactly same as you. I could feel the lump lying down but not when I sat up or stand. Went to my GP and she said she couldn't feel it and sent me away for three weeks, I went back again, explained to another doctor that it was still there, then she felt it lying on my side [which] was the only way she could feel it. So great idea to highlight this." Browning shared her gratitude in a subsequent post on her timeline, writing that she was overwhelmed by the support. "Together, we have reached so many people and have hopefully helped find more #LaidBackLumps THANK YOU!," she added. The moral of this story couldn't be clearer. Get on your back and feel your breasts, stat.