This Photo Could Save Your Life: The Subtle Sign That Tipped This Woman Off to Breast Cancer

Lisa Royle warned the world of just how subtle breast cancer can be, in a photo that’s now gone viral. (Photo: Facebook) 

When we think of breast cancer, we tend to think of a lump or mass. But sometimes a cancer can present in the subtlest of ways — something Lisa Royle of Manchester, United Kingdom, now knows well. 

The 42-year-old mother posted a photo of her breast to Facebook just before her mastectomy, which has now been shared more than 57,000 times and liked 35,000 times. She wanted to share the single symptom that tipped her off to a growing cancer: a measly dimple.

“Ok so I never thought I’d post a boob picture on Facebook but I thought I would before it gets chopped off next week,” Royle writes. “So here it is….. This all that I found on my boob. Very subtle dimples underneath that could easily be missed when we’re all rushing round getting ready in a morning.”

Luckily, though, Royle noticed that tiny little indicator that something was off in her body. According to The Daily Mail, she had her mastectomy this week and is now recovering. “Please take time to check your boobs,” she writes. It could save your life.”

Related: U.S. Breast Cancer Rates Will Increase 50% By 2030 (But It’s Not All Bad News)

According to Susan K. Boolbol, MD, Chief of the Division of Breast Surgery at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, even a subtle dimple should send off an alarms. “As a cancer grows, it can pull the skin in,” she tells Yahoo Health. “It is the same thing that can cause the nipple to become inverted.”

Royle and her husband. (Photo: Facebook) 

The lesson here, however, is not just the dimpling. It’s that any and all changes in the breast, even subtle ones, needs to be evaluated. “Women need to get familiar with their own bodies and breasts,” Boolbol says. “Even a small change needs to get checked out, and you don’t have to wait six months to do it.”

Boolbol says that most women expect to feel a lump with cancer, but other signs should be noted, as well. These subtler, lesser-known symptoms includes growing redness, a change in the skin texture (almost like an orange peel), a sudden change in the size of one breast, a rash on the nipple, or leakage from the nipple that occurs without squeezing or applying pressure.

Related: Why BRCA-Free Women Are Choosing to Have Their Breasts Removed Anyway 

Breast cancer has been in the news a lot lately, from Angelina Jolie’s important insights on BRCA mutations to Rita Wilson’s pursuit of a second opinion on pathology – which eventually led to her diagnosis.

Boolbol says that, although there hasn’t been an increase in breast cancer diagnoses, we’re all doing a better job of getting the word out about the many ways breast cancer can touch us. “It’s a better awareness,” she says. “And this allows women to pick up on even the subtle signs.”

From Angelina Jolie to Lisa Royle, continuously reopening the conversation about breast cancer is what saves lives.

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