Government Senator and breast cancer survivor, Dr Saphire Longmore, is encouraging persons who notice lumps in their bodies to go and have them checked immediately.
Longmore said that quick action can mean the difference between life and death.
“If you discover an unusual mass in the body, you should act quickly. Go and see a physician without delay. Immediately try to get a biopsy, which is where they take a small piece of the tissue and send it to the laboratory to see what the constituents of the mass are,” she explained.
Longmore, who is a medical doctor, suggested that persons should use the days or weeks leading up to the doctor’s appointment and the time in the waiting room “to think of everything you would want to know.”
“Write down your questions and go in there for the precious few minutes that you have and ask the relevant questions,” she said.
“My advice is to do your examinations on a regular basis and pay attention to your body.”— Longmore
Some of the important questions that she suggests are: What might this be? What do I do next? How much does it cost? What do I do to prevent it?
Pay attention to the body
Longmore said that it is also very important to pay attention to the body and to be mindful of changes however slight they may be. In relating her own experience, she said that she had done a breast self-examination about two months before she found the lump “and it was not there at the time.”
“So, my advice is to do your examinations on a regular basis and pay attention to your body. I was having very subtle changes in my breasts, which I just attributed to pre-menstrual syndrome. I knew that something was happening when I realised that the timing was off and this was just around the time that I found the lump,” she noted.
Longmore said that based on her clinical experience, she immediately knew what she was feeling.
“It was a very difficult moment. Initially, I went numb, but I acted immediately. You have to just take the bull by the horns and deal with it,” she advised.