Christina Applegate was just diagnosed with breast cancer. I’m assuming she was under the close watchful eye of personal physicians since she has a strong family history of breast cancer. Apparently she discovered the pea-sized mass during self- examination. In general women are told to perform self- examinations every month because they know the geography and feel of their own breasts so they are more likely to notice “something that shouldn’t be there,” or something that has changed. Over the years there has been a great deal of discussion with regards to the pros and cons of self-examination and frankly, I don’t get the “con” part.
If prevention is to become the cornerstone of our health system and the way we approach disease and our health – then noticing things is a key way for us to pick up abnormalities – whether or not they end up being true pathology. Your eyes can take note of a mole that changes in shape or size; and of course, your hands or fingers can tell if cysts in your breast suddenly change or if a breast that was pretty uniform, suddenly has something new there.
But the reason why I am writing about this in the women’s sexual health area is because I was quietly listening to a conversation today and the suggestion put forth by one of the women was just so, so brilliant. Now I admit I have a twinkle in my eye as I suggest this, and rarely do health issues and medicine offer a unique opportunity for pleasure, but this suggestion does. Why not include “breast exam” as something your husband can do for you?? After all, a healthy sex life should include foreplay and special moments of pleasurable touch. So why not let your husband’s fingers do the walking and I will assume that in most cases – the two of you will just have a good time. But in some isolated instances, a husband may indeed pick up an abnormality or something new, and that can be a life-saving experience.
Some of you reading this may be shaking your head thinking, “jeez, leave it to this expert to put a weird spin on things”. Inn reality, getting to know your own body is important – but I have heard so many stories of husbands or wives noticing the abnormality. So let’s add a pleasurable experience to the concept of “getting to know you.” Let’s coin the phrase breast buddy exam and add it to the option of breast self exam!!