Don’t Let Body Image Concerns Limit Breast Cancer Screenings
By: Courtney Floyd
A recently published study found that many women are skipping self-breast exams and avoiding going to the doctor due to poor body image perceptions.
This is an exceptionally heartbreaking headline to read, but one I am sure many of us can relate to!
The study showed one-third of women rarely or never engage in breast self-exams. Even more concerning, 1 in every 10 women admitted they would either delay or avoid seeing a doctor if they did detect a change in their breast all because of body image concerns.
I wanted to hear what other women thought of the study results, so I reached out to some of our amazing patients! Here’s what they had to say:
“Interesting article. I found a lump myself many years ago when I was in my 20’s and did contact a doctor. Thankfully it did turn out to be benign. He told me my breasts were dense and were always going to feel lumpy. I never had a problem checking my breasts and found it easiest in the shower. I also was satisfied with my breast size and body and didn’t have any issues.” – Carla
“I agree with the article and the research. Until my 50's (prior to my first DCIS diagnosis) I had very small breast and was very thin. I didn't like my figure and of course did not do self-breast exams because I felt that there was hardly any tissue in that area - so what could go wrong! I was extremely self-conscious of my flat chest and yes, I wore double padding in addition to a padded bra to give the illusion of any type of figure. I didn't like the look of my body so therefore I didn't take the proper care of it. Body dysfunction does affect how we perceive our health risks!” -Doris
“I disagree with this article. Personally, I had always been disappointed with my breasts. I felt they were too small and were different sizes, which is extremely noticeable on smaller breasts! My reason for not doing self-examinations had everything to do with heredity! I thought no one in my family had ever had breast cancer, so my risk is really low or nonexistent! I Didn’t learn the proper statistic until my diagnosis! So, I feel if we talked about statistics of family heredity, that would be more beneficial than body image discussions.” -Kim
It can be difficult to view ourselves positively in a society that demands perfection. Sometimes learning to love ourselves and our bodies is the hardest thing we will ever have to do! But we must remember to take care of ourselves—even when it makes us uncomfortable! It may not be easy for everyone, but please be encouraged to perform your self-breast exams monthly and see a doctor right away if you notice any changes!