Can’t remember the last time you did a breast self-exam? This cute (and emotive) song and dance by preschoolers will make you stop procrastinating.
We get it. Doing breast self-checks isn’t the most exciting thing when you could be scrolling your social media feed, texting or applying a face mask in your little pockets of free time. But here’s why you should consider it just as important as your other adulting duties, like paying your bills.
Breast cancer is the top cancer among women in Singapore. Every year, close to 2,000 women get diagnosed with breast cancer, and about 400 die from it. What’s even scarier is that you don’t have to be considered old to have breast cancer. Women in their 20s have been diagnosed with it, despite leading healthy lifestyles and having no family history of breast cancer.
Breast cancer can seriously happen to anyone
At a recent breast cancer awareness event organised by Shape in partnership with TAG Heuer and the Breast Cancer Foundation (BCF), we heard from breast cancer survivor Tracy Hoo, 32, on how she was diagnosed with breast cancer at 29, and how that affected her career, family, finances, insurance planning and even fertility health.
She shared: “I didn’t drink or smoke, and my genetic test results came out negative for breast cancer. So I was surprised to learn that I had breast cancer.”
Her advice to all women: “Do your self-checks regularly, and don’t take things for granted. You may think that breast cancer happens only to those in their 50s and 60s, but that’s not true. Breast cancer can happen to anyone, even if you don’t have a family history.”
According to BCF, women aged 20 and above should check their boobs once a month. The best time to do so is seven to 10 days after your period starts, when your breasts are least tender. If you aren’t having your period for some reason, do the breast self-exam on a fixed date every month.
The point of doing boob checks regularly? To get familiar with how your normal breast tissue feels like, so you are better equipped to recognise any abnormal changes (eg. lumps), should they happen *touch wood*. And you know what they say, early breast cancer detection can save your life.
Each breast self-check doesn’t take more than 3 minutes, plus you don’t need any special equipment – just your hands and some alone-time, so there really isn’t any excuse not to do it.
How to do a breast self-exam
Doing a breast self-exam involves looking and feeling for changes at a mirror, lying down, and while you’re in the shower. To learn the proper steps for each scenario, watch this instructional video or check out this step-by-step illustration by BCF.
To encourage women to do regular breast self-checks, BCF partnered Bridgestone Asia Pacific and creative agency DDB Group Singapore to launch the Nursery Reminder Campaign, which involves this cute nursery rhyme performance by children from MindChamps PreSchool.
At first watch, it sounds like a normal kids’ song (you know, The Wheels On The Bus Go Round and Round?), but read deeper and you’ll realise that the lyrics are subtly telling you how to do a breast self-exam, with clever use of the phrases “up and down”, “bit by bit”, and “round and round”.
Besides bringing a light-hearted touch to the often-sombre topic of breast cancer, the children in the video also serve as a reminder of the importance of their roles as a pillar of support and source of motivation for women to take charge of their health.
Now that you have the essential info on hand (or perhaps imprinted in your mind, thanks to the above earworm), it’s time to get hands on.