Canadian influencer The Birds Papaya reveals she found a lump on her breast. What to know about self-examination

Sarah Nicole Landry says she's 'feeling positive' after finding lump on her breast.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Contact a qualified medical professional before engaging in any physical activity, or making any changes to your diet, medication or lifestyle.

Sarah Nicole Landry says she found a lump in her breast. (Image via Getty Images)
Sarah Nicole Landry says she found a lump in her breast. (Image via Getty Images)

Sarah Nicole Landry has revealed she found a lump on her breast, and said she should be "more panicked" than she is. The Canadian influencer, better known as The Birds Papaya, shared the health news with her followers in a candid video on Friday.

Landry said in the video she found the lump on her "calm breast, the one that has the word "calm" tattooed on it, joking that "she has betrayed me. She's a little b—."

The content creator said this is just "another thing" she has to fit into her busy schedule, and is now bracing herself "for limbo." Landry added she hopes it's nothing, and paired her video with a caption on how she really feels.

"I guess life doesn't just stop when you find a lump. It really just becomes another thing to fit into everything else all the while feeling like your whole world just stopped spinning," she wrote. "I'm sure this isn't the 'right' way to feel. I should be more panicked. More sad. More proactive. More something. But this is what I felt in all honesty and it's a wake up call for me and my constant feeling around being an inconvenience."

I should be more panicked. More sad. More proactive. More something.Sarah Nicole Landry via Instagram

Landry said she knows her odds are good, and that she's feeling "positive" at the moment. She encouraged her followers to check their breasts, too.

"I said to my mom yesterday, 'I wish more people talked about this part, the limbo before knowing' and so I'm gonna. It's weird and scary and big adult-y. But we're doing it."

As the second-most common cancer in Canada, you or someone you know has likely come face-to-face with a life-changing breast cancer diagnosis. The Canadian Cancer Society estimated that in 2023 alone, approximately 29,400 women were diagnosed with breast cancer across the country, and an estimated 5,400 died from it.

Breast cancer is scary. It's malicious, demanding and will undoubtedly change your life. However, there's hope.

In Canada, 82 per cent of female breast cancer cases are diagnosed early in their development, at stages one and two. Additionally, "the probability of surviving breast cancer at least five years after diagnosis is about 88 per cent in Canada," according to government data.

Like all cancers, early detection can be a make or break in the prognosis of the illness. Here's everything you need to know about self-examinations.

Breast self-examinations: Are they worth it?

In regards to early detection, breast self-examinations are a surprisingly controversial subject. The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care does not recommend breast self-examinations for women ages 40 to 74 who do not have a high risk of breast cancer. However, your primary health-care provider may have different advice.

According to Dr. Melinda Wu, a general practitioner in oncology at the Women's College Hospital Breast Centre in Toronto, it's important to "get to know the [breast] tissue in your own body."

"I really promote breast self-awareness at every age, probably starting at 18," she told Yahoo Canada in 2021. "You don't have to [perform a breast exam] monthly or in any regimented fashion, but you should start to get to know your own breast tissue so that you can let someone know if it starts to feel different to you."

Breast exams: Pros and cons

The main argument against breast self-examinations is that you may find a change in your breast tissue or appearance that sparks unnecessary concern. Studies have shown that self-examinations don't save women's lives and can lead to unneeded and invasive tests, such as biopsies.

Despite that, Wu encouraged women to perform self-exams to keep in touch with the normal look and feel of their bodies.

"A few times a year, try to be conscious and just get to know the tissue in your own body," she advised.

naked woman performing breast exam with hand on breast
How to perform a breast self-exam at home (Photo via Getty)

How can I perform a breast self-examination?

To give yourself a breast exam at home, Wu recommended doing so in the shower with soap and water or lying down on your bed.

"I encourage people to use the finger pads of their first three fingers and glide over the tissue so that you cover all of it in some overlapping manner," she said. "Some people use a 'lawnmowing' type of pattern when you go from the collarbone to the underside of the breast, come back up next to it and go down, [making] vertical strips."

Wu said there is no one right way to perform a breast exam, "as long as you cover the breast tissue in its entirety and you do so in a regular fashion so that you get to know what feels right or normal to you."

In addition to a physical examination, Wu advised studying your naked reflection "so that you know what your normal breast shape looks like, what the contours look like and what the skin looks like."

"I encourage people to raise their hands over their heads [to] accentuate anything that might be tethering the skin or the nipple," she said. "If you notice that any part of the skin is pulling in or dimpling, that would be something to bring to the attention of your health-care provider."

When is the best time to perform a breast self-exam?

Wu said the best time to do a breast exam at home is the week after your period, as "that's when the hormone levels are the lowest in your monthly cycle, so you will feel the breast tissue is less engorged." She suggested that after the age of 40, performing a self-exam every other month is a "good balance."

What are the signs of breast cancer?

While lumps are the most recognizable sign of the disease, Wu said to be cautious about skin changes that don't go away, persistent redness, skin dimpling and changes to the nipple.

"If it's crusted, red, if the skin overlying the nipple and areola look different than before," she said, adding that that these are all things that should be brought to the attention of your health-care provider. Additionally, "spontaneous nipple discharge that is clear or bloody" should be brought up as well.

The bottom line

More than anything, Wu recommended breast self-awareness at every age. Despite self-given breast exams not being recognized by some health-care entities, Wu said being cautious is key.

"I would never assume something is nothing — that's not the safest approach," she said. "The most cautious approach is, even if you're not sure, if something is new or different, bring it to the attention of your health-care provider."

For more information about breast cancer, check out the resources at the Canadian Cancer Society.

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