Yesterday our friends in the Dublin Well Woman Centre created an ad for Facebook that explained through text and illustrations, the correct way to do a self breast exam. I mean it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month after all! However after they tried to boost their post, they were in shock to discover that the ad had been rejected by Facebook on the grounds that it was "overly sexual."
Just in the last couple hours it was announced that Facebook had decided to reverse it's decision on the ad, but not before 2 appeals from the Well Woman Centre had been rejected.
I'm frankly sick of this bullshit - not because I too have been blocked from advertising to adults on Facebook, but because women's health centres should not have to justify the depiction of a potentially life saving examination because of the sensitivities of the few who see breasts as "inappropriate."
We shouldn't have to justify our breasts full stop! But I digress...
Breast exams are important. Really important. And you can do them for free. I'd normally try to keep my personal life and business separate, but under the circumstances, I feel that today it is important for me to tell my story.
A year ago this week, I was at home visiting my family. While I was there my younger sister who was 28 at the time, felt a lump in her breast. We all assumed it was a cyst but told her to get it checked out anyway since we're a family of hypochondriacs. The next day, I felt a small hard lump in my breast. As I don't have health insurance in the States, and a doctor's visit would have cost me hundreds - never mind if they found something - I told my mom I'd get it checked out as soon as I got back to Dublin.
Three weeks later I was watching the mid-term election results come in when I got a phone call from my mom.
"So your sister has cancer..." she said very matter-of-factly before bursting into tears and begging me to go to the doctor. She didn't have to ask twice. Three weeks later I was in the St. Vincent's ultrasound department. I was incredibly lucky. The hard lump that I was now convinced was cancer was actually a healthy lymph node that had wandered over to my breast tissue.
Two weeks before Christmas, my sister underwent a double mastectomy. Santa brought her painkillers.
After a year of surgeries and countless doctor's appointments, she's fine now. Our family is starting to get back to normal, but only because my sister just happened to feel that lump in the shower. Despite the millions of dollars that has been poured into research, the fact remains that breast cancer is still the most common form of cancer in women.
They may be awesome and look amazing in that new dress, but our tits are trying to kill us, ladies! It's up to you and your GP to keep them in check. Please study the self-exam technique and if you're not already, do it once a month. Thank you!