A cancer survivor has shared the step-by-step routine on how to check your breasts for lumps that saved her life.
Danielle Tropsa, 34, from New York, US, was diagnosed with cancer four years ago and had a double mastectomy to prevent it from spreading.
She also underwent aggressive chemotherapy treatment and in November 2017, had reconstruction surgery.
“Given my age at diagnosis being so young, my oncology team and I decided chemo was the next step of my active treatment,” Danielle said.
“I did 8 rounds of chemo over 6 months and an infusion every 3 weeks of CMF Chemotherapy.
“I did not lose my hair during treatment but I did have a whole host of side effects like low white blood cell counts, all over body pain, appetite and taste changes, nausea, headache, fatigue, weight loss.
“It was a tough process and something I learned so much about my body through.
“Once I was done with chemo in June of 2018 I had a rest period before my reconstruction surgery in August of 2018 and then started my daily medication of Tamoxifen which I will be on for 10 years.
“The way this medicine works is it blocks the receptors of my hormones from binding with any cancer cells that could potentially be in my body still.”
Danielle is now cancer-free and on a mission to educate young women on taking their health more seriously – and has done just that on TikTok.
Sharing the simple routine that saved her own life, the survivor has gone viral – with the clip racking up over 3.5 million views and 667,000 likes so far.
In the clip, Danielle starts by laying three fingers on the opposite hand to the breast, making small circles around the nipple using medium to firm pressure before moving outwards.
She repeats this step with her arm up and moves her fingers to check her armpit, collarbone and the base of her neck.
Danielle then repeats the process while lying down.
The informative video has left TikTok users emotional, with one person saying they will now go and get checked out themselves.
“Thank youu cuz I think I did feel something but I wasn’t sure I’m gonna go get checked,” they wrote. [sic]
“They should teach this in schools too!” someone else added.
“Thank you! It’s so frustrating that nobody ever teaches this,” another person said.
Others praised Danielle for helping them conduct their own breast examination, and they ended up locating tumours in their breast tissue.
“Yeah thank you for these videos because you are how I found mine,” one wrote.
“I found a tumour doing this! Thank the lord it was benign!!” another said. [sic]
“This is how I found my benign adenoma! I will never not do a self-exam after that surgery!” another added.
When checking your breasts, you should be looking for any changes such as new lumps that are hard, uneven and don’t move.
They could be painful or not, but bear in mind that 9 out of 10 lumps are not cancerous, according to the NHS.
However, you should always follow up with a medical professional at the earliest opportunity.
“I always say if you feel something, say something,” Danielle said.
“That being said, starting to check in on your body young is my best piece of advice.
“It can be scary and it can be confusing but the younger we start to get in touch with our physical being it makes it easier to note changes that need attention.
“If you’re nervous, I say to start small and start a timer for 15 seconds, do a section at a time each day until you do the whole area and you start to feel more comfortable with examining yourself.
“But don’t put pressure on yourself either, do it all with love and know the anxiety is based on the fact that you love yourself and you never want to find something seriously wrong.
“You’re looking for changes in your breasts.
“New lumps, or lumps that are very hard, uneven like broccoli and don’t move.
“There could be pain or there could not, this is not a good indicator so if you find something new and it sticks around for two weeks or more, get it checked by your doctor.
“Know that a lot of lumps are not cancerous but they still require medical attention.
“So going to see your doctor is great, and be proud of yourself for caring about your health and seeking professional guidance.”
Danielle also notes to look out for skin changes such as redness, rashes, skin dimpling and swelling, as well as newly-inverted nipples and nipple discharge.
Danielle, who has now been cancer free for almost 4 years, said: “Physically I feel great!
“I feel stronger than ever because cancer really taught me how to pay attention to my health overall.
“What am I doing, what am I eating, how does it help my health?
“What products am I using and what is my mental state, all of it.
“It all factors into our overall health.
“I do have days where I feel residual treatment symptoms like GI issues, headaches, chemo brain where I am foggy and out of it.
“But I am way kinder to myself during those times and I listen to my body and what it needs.”
Additionally, the NHS recommends getting to know your breasts throughout the month – as they may feel differently during a woman’s menstrual cycle.
If you are concerned about your breasts, contact your local GP who may examine them or refer you to a breast clinic.