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This British woman’s viral post could help you detect breast cancer

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A 27-year-old British woman diagnosed with breast cancer has launched a campaign to encourage other women to follow her advice for spotting the disease early.

Hayley Browning, from Essex, recently noticed a lump in her breast while lying down – a lump that she could not feel when she was standing up. She was diagnosed with breast cancer three weeks ago.

In a post on Facebook, the corporate account manager for Marie Curie UK explained that she wanted other women to start checking their breasts while lying down.

“I’m hoping to share a little trick of mine with as many people as possible, which could potentially help save someone’s life,” she wrote.

“Three weeks ago, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I could only feel the lump whilst lying down and it completely disappeared standing up. Most websites tell you to check for lumps in the shower but if I had followed this advice, the lump may have grown too large to be treatable.”


Read more: “What having terminal cancer taught me about seizing the day”


Browning shared her story on Facebook after realising how few women were aware that some lumps were only detectable when lying down. She told The Sun: “Initially, I only told my friends and family about lying down whilst checking and they also weren’t aware of this and were very thankful for me sharing my learning.”

At the time of writing, her post had been shared almost 130,000 times and liked more than 92,000 times.

One in eight women in the UK will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lifetime, according to Breast Cancer UK. While no medical authority recommends only examining your breasts in the shower, NHS Choices does suggest it as one way of checking for lumps.

Browning said that even her surgeon was not able to feel the lump in her breast when she was standing up. Since her diagnosis she has had a lumpectomy to remove the lump, and now faces five months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.


Read more: “Dear UK, the NHS is awesome”: a letter from an American doctor


“This is a call out to all women to check for lumps lying down, as well as standing up,” said Browning. “As I think about my long journey ahead and the chemotherapy I will undertake, I want to reach as many people with this message and help find more #LaidBackLumps.”

In November, scientists at University College London warned that women should also keep an eye out for other changes – not just lumps – that could be a potential indicators of breast cancer. These warning signs include changes to nipples, swellings in the armpit, and sores on the skin of the breast.

Images: Facebook/Hayley Browning

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