Most people tend to think of breast lumps as the chief indicators of breast cancer, but there are other breast abnormalities that can tell you something is wrong. Recently, Sherrie Rhodes gave an important reminder that breast “dimples” can be warning signs of cancer, too. The UK woman posted an image on Facebook of a dimple she discovered on her breast. After getting it checked out, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
In a July 25 Facebook post, Rhodes, a mother of three who works as a caregiver for adults, wrote, “Yesterday I was diagnosed with breast cancer.” She said that the “only symptom” she had was the dimpling on the side of her breast. After noticing the abnormality in late June, she went to her doctor, who referred her to a breast clinic, where she had a mammogram and a biopsy. “I wasn't too worried as there was no lump or anything,” she wrote. “Unfortunately it came back as breast cancer.”
“Please check your breast regularly and don't ignore anything that is different,” Rhodes implored readers. “If I hadn't seen a post like this previously I wouldn't have known that this dimpling was a sign of cancer.”
Rhodes posted an image of the two dimples that had appeared on the side of one of her breasts.
Rhodes told the Hull Daily Mail that she didn’t hesitate to post about her experience as a warning to others. “I decided to do the post almost straight away. I was sat in the car park and thought, ‘I’m going to put a picture on Facebook,’” she said. “It's an intimate area and I was nervous about doing it but thought I'd do it in a delicate way and thought it would be worth it if it helped just one person.”
She said of her diagnosis, “I couldn't stop crying, I've got three children and having to tell them something like that was horrendous.” Over 700 people have shared Rhodes’ post, and a hundred have commented with words of thanks and well-wishes for her treatment and recovery.
Rhodes’ story is a sobering reminder of the importance of knowing what is normal for your breasts and of checking regularly for anything unusual. In an article for Bustle, Emma Kaywin, a sexual health writer and activist in Brooklyn, wrote that, when doing a breast self-exam, you’re looking for changes in your breasts or nipples. Here’s what she said to look out for:
Changes in your nipples can include tenderness; differences in the way they look, like depression (no not sadness, if they are pushed in), and scaly, red, or rashy skin; or if you see any discharge. Changes in your breasts can include lumps; changes in size and shape; any dimples or puckers in your breast skin; pain in any one part of your breast; red, scaly, itchy, or warm skin; or a hard lump or knot in the breast or in your armpit.
If you do find any of these abnormalities, follow Rhodes’s example, and get checked out by a doctor.