Haley Browning was diagnosed with breast cancer at the young age of 27. But it’s not her age that’s making headlines, it’s how she found it.
See, Browning couldn’t feel the lump while standing up — she could only feel it when she was lying down.
The young woman from Chelmsford, Essex, felt the lump accidentally. “I happened to rest my hand on my inner left breast and felt something that hurt,” she told Mail Online. “And then felt it properly and realised it was a lump. I wasn’t checking for lumps intentionally as I would usually do that in the shower.”
Browning cried after finding the lump, and her mom leapt into action, making a doctor’s appointment for the very same day. Neither Browning nor her doctor could feel the lump while she was standing; it was only when she was lying down that they could palpitate it.
After a biopsy, Browning and her parents waited anxiously for the results at Maidstone Hospital in Barming. Her doctor quickly assuaged her worst fears by assuring her that the cancer would be treatable.
She underwent a lumpectomy to remove the cancerous tissue, and will undergo both radiation and chemo for the next five months. She also found out that she has the BRCA2 gene mutation.
Browning initially just told her friends about her experience, but realized that she needed to spread the message as far as she could so that other women were aware.
The thought of what could have happened left her terrified. “If I had only checked while standing up, I may have found it too late to be treatable. But that’s something I don’t even want to think about,” Browning said.
Browning purposely shared her story on Facebook on World Cancer Day, February 4th, 2017. It had been three weeks since she found the lump, and she thought the timing was right to be able to spread awareness with the hashtag #LaidBackLumps. As of this posting, it has been shared over 150,000 times.
“I’m no expert in lumps,” she said, “but I just want to encourage everyone to consult your doctor as soon as you feel something you are unsure of. Just don’t delay booking that appointment.”
Self-checks can save lives. To learn more about what to look and feel for, check out our post here.
C. Dixon likes to read, sing, eat, drink, write, and other verbs. She enjoys cavorting around the country to visit loved ones and experience new places, but especially likes to be at home with her husband, son, and dog.