We Need To Talk About Nipples (With Artist Emma Low & Nurse Clare O’Neill)

The latest episode of our Am I Making You Uncomfortable? podcast looks at our relationship with nipples, with artist Emma Low and Coppafeel's Clare O’Neill.

Women’s bodies, particularly breasts, are hypersexualised – yet our nipples are often censored. And the nipples we do see are almost always the same: small, pert, pink, probably symmetrical and located on a slim, white, cis-gender body. Not only is this lack of representation damaging, but focuses too much on aesthetics.

We’re joined by two amazing guests on this podcast: Emma Low, an artist who makes clay boob pots that are not only fun, but crucially super inclusive (check them out at Pot Yer Tits Away Luv) and Clare O’Neill, a breast cancer survivor and nurse working for CoppaFeel! Charity to talk about nipples in their many, many contexts.

Transcript

Brogan Driscoll:

Hello and welcome to HuffPost’s brand new weekly podcast, Am I Making You Uncomfortable? Presented by me, Brogan Driscoll.

Rachel Moss:

And me, Rachel Moss. This podcast is a frank, honest conversation about women’s bodies, health and private lives. Fearless, inclusive and empowering, we cover underreported issues and tackle topics you’re too squeamish to talk to your friends about.

Brogan Driscoll:

Today we’re talking about women’s nipples. We’ll be joined by Emma Low, an artist and creator of Pot Yer Tits Away Luv, and Clare O’Neill, a nurse working for breast cancer charity, CoppaFeel!

Rachel Moss:

You can join in the conversation by using our hashtag #AIMYU, which stands for Am I Making You Uncomfortable?

So, it dawned on me when we were planning a podcast all about nipples that I haven’t actually seen many female nipples in my 28 years on this planet, which sounds like a really, really strange thing to say. But obviously, we see nipples in TV and film. But I think somewhere along the line, I must have internalized some kind of shame or idea that nipples are private things, because whether I’m on a beach and women are topless or a I’m at a mate’s house, and they’re getting undressed, I almost instinctively look away from boobs, and particularly nipples.

And so actually, because I’m a straight woman, when I stop and think about it, the only nipples that I am well acquainted with are my own and my mum’s, which is so, so weird.

Am I a weirdo? Or do you get what I mean? How many nipples do you think you’ve seen in your life?

Brogan Driscoll:

I really like the thought of being well acquainted with the nipple. It feels really formal. I think I’m a bit of the opposite, but I feel that might be because I am a “whip your boobs out” kinda gal. In appropriate situations, obviously.

I don’t know, I feel I’ve seen quite a lot of nipples. I mean, obviously I don’t stare at them. I sunbathe topless. I haven’t always done that. But I’ve started to do that in the last couple of years, which is just so nice and liberating. And I don’t know if anyone can relate to this, but if you’ve been sunbathing and then if you swim, or if you get in the sea or in the pool with no top on, it’s so nice. Your boobs are just like (noise) and it actually feels really nice. Maybe you should try it. Yeah. But yeah, I’m definitely nips out.

Rachel Moss:

I am the complete opposite in that regard. When I was younger, late teens, early 20s, I was very self-conscious about my boobs. I was quite scrawny. I’m one of those people who developed really late, was always quite childlike.

I think as well, when we got magazines when you were a teenager, and they said, what body shape are you? And it was, apple, pear, and then it was... boy-like. I was always boy-like. Which, when you read that and you’re 14, 15, 16 and then your mates are developing massive knockers, you just, you just feel quite shit about yourself.

And unfortunately, I think I did carry that through to my early adult life. I’m late 20s now, I’m 28 and I have managed to shake it off mostly. It creeps up on me when I’m on holiday, I think, and other people are sunbathing topless and I just wouldn’t.

Brogan Driscoll:

Yeah, I like that people choose to do either. I’ve been on holidays where I might take my bikini top off. It’s mainly because of (this is really vain) but it’s mainly cause I don’t want to have strap marks and because of that lovely swimming experience, which I described earlier.

But everyone seems to just make the choices that feel good for them, at least in the situations I’ve been in or what makes them feel comfortable. But I’ve been thinking about… Obviously, we knew that we were going to be chatting about nipples today, so I’ve been thinking about them quite a lot and how nipples are censored.

You never see nipples in an advert. You can see all around the nipple, but you never see the actual nipple. And the same with lots of social media posts will be censored if you see the actual nipple. So it’s quite a unique area of the female body because we see so much and yet it’s hidden away and so we’re robbed of our ownership of them.

Rachel Moss:

Obviously, we’re speaking a lot about body image relating to nipples because that is a big part of the conversation, but also nipples aren’t just there for aesthetic purposes. They actually have a role to play in our lives, whether that’s breastfeeding when people become mums or also showing signs of breast cancer or other underlying issues. So, really I think, just talking about them more is important because they have a function.

Brogan Driscoll:

Definitely. We’ve been inundated with women getting in touch to share their thoughts and feelings around their own nipples.

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Caller:

I guess the first time I realized that I even had nipples was when I was about 10 and getting changed in the school changing room. And one of the other girls was quite shocked by the appearance of my nipples and asked me why they were so dark. This little girl in question was Swedish and very fair, and obviously was just as shocked to see my nipples as I was to have them pointed out to me and I think that was my first realization, not only that that felt uncomfortable (someone else commenting on your body) but perhaps also the one of the first realizations that I wasn’t white, and that was one of the more prominent markers of that as I’m a white passing mixed race person. And I think that that experience probably did mean that I carried certain prejudices towards my own breasts moving into adulthood.

Caller:

I had a quite messy relationship. And when that ended, I got my nipple pierced on a whim, just the one but it’s one of the favourite things I’ve ever done, and it’s massively improved my confidence, and made me love all parts of my body so much more than I ever did before.

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Brogan Driscoll:

Clearly such an emotional topic and I’m so excited to get into it.

We’re super excited to have Emma Low on the podcast today. She’s an artist who makes clay boob pots that celebrate real bodies and boobs in all shapes and sizes. She runs the aptly named Instagram account, @potyertitsawayluv, where you can see her creations on happy customers shelves filled with pens and plants. So Emma, tell us how did you get into making pots with boobs on?

Emma Low:

I started in 2016 as a present to someone else, actually, which isn’t very feminist of me. It was for a man... who shall remain nameless.

And then someone saw it and was like, “Oh, that’s cool. Could I have one?” And then I just started making more. And here we are four years later.

Rachel Moss:

Love that. So the pots, for anyone who hasn’t seen them, they are very varied in shape and size, colour, skin tone, everything you could possibly imagine. All different boobs are welcome. And I know that women can almost request a pot that’s like their boobs. So how does that work? Can you talk us through the creative process? So for example, if I wanted a pot that looks like my boobs, do I send you a boob pic? How does that work?

Emma Low:

Yes, you do.

Rachel Moss:

Oh!

Brogan Driscoll:

Amazing!

Emma Low:

And so when I first started, I was a bit unsure of how I was going to do it. Obviously, there wasn’t really a plan. I didn’t have any marketing going on, any brand thing. I just rolled with the punches. I always say that the pots are a likeness, they’re never going to be an exact replica. And I think that’s why people like them because it’s quite nice to see how someone else sees you.

Brogan Driscoll:

How long does each pot take to make?

Emma Low:

It really depends on how motivated I’m feeling. There’s stages, so I work with air drying clay, which is not the same as ceramics. So I have to build the pot and then I have to leave it to dry and then I come back to it, then I’ll sand it, then I’ll paint it, then it’ll have a topcoat.

And then usually I’ll take photos for Instagram. So the process is quite lengthy. I would say from the initial sending of the photographs to people receiving their pots, it could be anywhere between two to four weeks.

Rachel Moss:

We were talking at the start about the lack of nipples that we see in our day-to-day lives because you catch cleavage all the time, if people wear certain outfits, but yeah, you never seen nips. They are hidden away.

Emma Low:

But if you do see them then there’s usually an embarrassment.

Brogan Driscoll:

Mmm, nip slip.

Emma Low:

An awkward moment of, “oh, you shouldn’t have seen that! ” or even if your nipples are just a little bit erect. I think people get quite uncomfortable about it, which is funny.

Me and my housemate talk about this all the time because obviously… t’s getting a little bit warmer now. Men love to just roam the streets without their tops on and we always laugh, like imagine if we were doing that, people would be crashing their cars into lamp posts and stuff.

We would be arrested!

Brogan Driscoll:

I was saying earlier, how I’m a whip them out gal on holidays and stuff. I just love to be able to do that. And it’s frustrating to have them super sexualized and it be a massive taboo to not be able to get your nipples out.

Emma Low:

I mean going on holiday, that’s a really good point because you go to places like Europe, and everyone’s completely naked, bushes are hanging out, hairy legs, no one cares, no one even bats an eyelid. And the mere mention of a nipple here is very taboo, I would say.

Rachel Moss:

So you’ve clearly got quite an open attitude to nipples and you believe that we should be able to be free and express ourselves. Have you always had that? Is that something you’ve developed that came in time with you setting up Pot Yer Tits Away Luv?

Emma Low:

No. I grew up in a household where we would see each other naked all the time. And so for me, a body is not a sexual thing, unless it’s in that context.

So I think that really helped me to not have as many boundaries, if that makes sense. I want people to feel as free as I feel. I mean, I have a very normative body. So for me to say I want everyone to feel how I feel is a little bit… probably naive, because I’m represented everywhere.

And that was the whole movement behind me making the pots, was that I wanted it to be somewhere where people could come and feel more represented and celebrated and not necessarily have anyone tell them what they should feel about their body, but just feel like, “oh, that looks like me. I can maybe be a bit more accepting of me.”

Brogan Driscoll:

You’re making a really interesting point. And that’s what’s so striking about your work and the way that it’s presented on Instagram, is that we can really see the breadth of the pots that you create and that message comes across really loud and clear, I think.

Emma Low:

It’s taken me a long time to get to the point where I’m at. Obviously when it started out, it was just women I was doing it for but now I make pots for anyone, regardless of what gender they identify as.

So I try to not really…

Although my name is Pot Yer Tits Away Luv, I don’t want it to be exclusive to women, because I think that is quite damaging to a lot of people. And a lot of people don’t really know what they identify as. So maybe having a place to just explore your body and just accept it as what it is. Maybe will lead you to a place where you feel more accepting of yourself as a whole.

Brogan Driscoll:

You’ve worked with so many people. Have you got any stories about the impact that your work’s had on people?

Emma Low:

I mean, it completely depends. Everyone is so different, mentality wise, but physicality wise, everyone’s different as well.

So some people will be really vocal about how they feel about their pot, like they love it or where they’re going to put it, or who they’re going to show it to, or they’re going to take it to work, or just whatever.

And other people just get it and never say anything ever again cause it’s really theirs to do whatever they want with it. I just feel it’s their thing. It’s their need, they want it for some reason, and then when they get it, they can do whatever they want with it. I’m just the middle person.

Rachel Moss:

It’s interesting that you say people order pots because they’ve got some kind of need, because we’ve heard from a lot of our listeners who have a lot of body hang-ups to do with boobs, and particularly nipples.

So we wanted to play you a couple of testimonials from those listeners, just to hear a couple of different views and see what you think about them.

Brogan Driscoll:

So this testimonial is from a woman who got in touch to tell us about how she’s seen a lack of representation as a black woman in media and a lack of representation of what her breasts and nipples look like and how that’s impacted her personally and how it’s also impacted a particular relationship.

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Caller:

So I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with my nipples because I’ve always felt they don’t really look like anyone else’s. That’s not to say that they’re in any way flawed.

They just don’t seem to be the kind of nipples that you see often. You don’t see them in a great Renaissance painting, or in an advertisement for a product or in a sex scene on the BBC. And that’s because my nipples are large and brown. The kind that you find on a brown or black woman’s body.

The feeling that that lack of representation has created is one of paranoia, especially when I’m with a new sexual partner. I always feel like my nipples are some kind of big reveal. I remember a few years ago once, I was at this guy’s house in East London and we were making out and I took my bra off and he just stared at me, but not in the hot way… in a confused way.

And I said, “What’s wrong?” And he was like, “Nothing. I’ve just I’ve just never slept with a… with a black woman before” to which I responded, “So?” and he just said, “It’s just your nipples. They’re not pink.”

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Rachel Moss:

So Emma, obviously you have spoken to more women about nipples than most people. Are you surprised hearing that testimonial that we’ve got through? Or have you heard things similar to that before?

Emma Low:

I’m not surprised that if you’re not represented, then you would have some sort of self-confidence issues.

I think that’s why, when I started out doing the pots, I wanted to make sure that I was including bodies like that. I often feel I may be crossing a line as a white woman, that I shouldn’t necessarily be making money off of other women’s bodies or other people’s bodies.

But then again, if I wasn’t including everyone, then I wouldn’t be staying true to myself, which is something that’s important to me. So... I mean, I think it’s interesting that that was the reaction that her partner had as well, because that says a lot, doesn’t it?

I just think it would be so much better if younger people were taught more about what different bodies look like, because that could have been so unavoidable. So yeah, that makes me feel a bit sad. Also, it doesn’t surprise me.

Rachel Moss:

We’ve spoken a bit about sort of the mainstream representation of nipples, be that TV and film and you touched on sex education there as well. Is there anywhere else you think these ideas of good boobs and bad boobs come from?

Emma Low:

It’s terrible, but I’m an avid watcher of Love Island. And there was a point where they were sharing cosmetic surgery adverts in the breaks between broadcasting Love Island and I think stuff like that is super super damaging.

For one, people can do whatever they want with their bodies. If you feel that you want cosmetic surgery to live a more authentic life, then be my guest. It’s your money. It’s your body. At the end of the day you can do whatever you want.

But I don’t think we should be actively encouraging people to alter themselves to fit into a mold that’s completely unachievable for most people.

Brogan Driscoll

I think you hit the nail on the head there.

Rachel Moss:

We’re going to play a second testimonial for you now. It’s one of our listeners talking about how her relationship with her nipples has changed since becoming a mother.

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Caller:

I’ve always had a really difficult relationship with my breasts, particularly my nipples. Felt so self conscious and uncomfortable. The thought of getting them out mortified me but that all completely changed when I had my daughter and I breastfed her, to the point apparently when she was handed over to me, I just whacked my boob out in front of everyone, no problem, to feed her.

And it’s completely changed how I view my body and view my nipples. Now when I look at them, I feel so much pride and love and just see them representing her and my bond with her, and just fills me with so much joy and so much more confidence.

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Emma Low:

That’s really lovely. I think that spiked my interest as well, because a lot of people feel a certain way about their bodies until they actually realize what their body’s functions are.

That’s really nice that that natural instinct just kicked in and she was able to just be like, “This is what they’re there for. It doesn’t matter what they look like, they’re fulfilling a purpose.”

And I have had a lot of people who have contacted me and I’ve made pots of them, who have had children, and they’ve said that their breasts and their nipples have changed and they change throughout pregnancy and then they changed to something else.

I think your body is ever evolving with everything. For me, I feel personally, that it’s just you have to accept that you’re human and humans are flawed in a way that makes you who you are. And that’s quite nice. We all have those.

Rachel Moss:

That is a really lovely note to end on. But before we say goodbye to you, there’s a question that we ask all of our guests who come on the podcast every week, and that is…

What makes you uncomfortable in life? Anything. We’ve had pantomimes, we’ve had small talk.

Emma Low:

Oh, great, okay, mine is emotional vulnerability.

Rachel Moss:

Tell us more.

Brogan Driscoll:

Deep.

Emma Low:

I just absolutely hate sharing my feelings and I’ve realized quite recently that I am terrible at communicating them. Yeah, that’s something that makes me obviously feel very uncomfortable.

Rachel Moss:

But the fact that you’ve just shared it on a podcast, I would say that shows that you’re getting over it a little bit.

Emma Low:

Well, maybe.

Brogan Driscoll:

Thank you so much.

Emma Low:

Thank you so much. That was really fun.

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Brogan Driscoll:

Thank you so much to Emma Low for joining us. That was a really insightful conversation. If you want to follow her work, she’s on Instagram at @potyertitsawayluv

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Caller:

It was actually my high school boyfriend who made me realize something was a little unusual about my breasts. I’d heard the expression “inverted nipples”. I knew Kate Moss actually had them, but I’d never applied it to my boobs, which I actually quite liked.

He was lovely about it, as have most partners been since, but it does feel fraught, getting naked in front of someone for the first time. I worry they’re defective, that I might not be able to breastfeed in future and to be honest, even the word “nipples” makes me feel uncomfortable because I know something’s not quite right with mine.

Caller:

I have always felt really uncomfortable about my nipples. They’re a lot larger than what you see most girls who model and things… and I am a model. So I always thought that it was really weird that they were a lot larger. And even in music, you hear guys talk about gumdrop nipples, which are a lot smaller. So I always was really insecure about that. But lately I’ve been trying to embrace my body and it is what it is.

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Rachel Moss:

You’re listening to Am I Making You Uncomfortable? And if you want to get involved online and join in the conversation, our hashtag is #AIMYU

Brogan Driscoll:

So we’re super pleased to have Clare O’Neill with us today. Clare was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017 at age 33, and is now thankfully in remission. She’s a nurse and now works for Coppafeel!, a breast cancer charity, where she is a health care coordinator and sometimes dresses up as a giant boob at festivals, as one of the charity’s boobettes.

Rachel Moss:

Clare, thank you so much for joining us. Before you joined the call, we were talking to Emma Lowe, who is an artist who makes these amazing plant pots and pen pots that look like boobs. They’re super fun.

We kept saying over and over again, they’re all different shapes and colours and sizes. Amazing.

We were talking a lot with her about the aesthetic of boobs and body image concerns around boobs but of course, behind every boob and every nipple, there is a person and a story. So we are really grateful for you to come on today and to share a bit of your personal story with us.

I know you were diagnosed with breast cancer really, really young. What first alerted you that something might be wrong healthwise?

Clare O’Neill:

So I was just in the bathroom and I was just looking in the mirror and I noticed a sort of dimple. And we often talk about orange peel skin. So it’s a bit dimply, but it looked like it was being pulled in from the inside, which actually, it turns out it was.

So I noticed a dimple and then I felt around the side of my boob and it felt a bit hard. It didn’t necessarily feel like a lump, but there was definitely an area of hardness. And that obviously scared me. So that’s how I noticed.

I went to my GP, and my GP felt certain that it couldn’t be breast cancer. But he fortunately did the right thing, and referred me to the breast clinic anyway. It was because I previously had a chest CT for a chest infection at the hospital and he actually couldn’t see that scan, because it’s a different trust, but that’s a whole other story.

But he said, because I’d had that scan he said, if it was breast cancer, it almost certainly would have been picked up on that scan. It actually turns out that that’s not true. When I went to the breast clinic, I spoke to the radiologist and he said, “No, I’m looking at that scan now and we can’t see it on there.”

So that’s one of the myths that I try and debunk now in my job when I go and speak to GPs, but the main thing is my GP did the right thing, which is, he referred me to the breast clinic anyway.

Brogan Driscoll:

And so what was the treatment plan for you?

Clare O’Neill:

First of all, I was asked by the oncologist if I have children, and I said no. And she very cleverly said, well, we’re going to get you an appointment at the fertility clinic. And that was the first thing that I had.

I had two cycles of IVF to try and harvest some of my eggs, because they knew that the treatment would probably make me infertile. They didn’t know what it was going to be yet, but a lot of breast cancer treatments do cause infertility. So that was the first thing I had. It was smart of her to not ask me if I wanted children at that point.

I know a lot of women might not have, but it doesn’t hurt to have an appointment with the fertility clinic and at that point, I’d just been told I had breast cancer. So I probably didn’t want to have the conversation about whether or not I wanted children at that exact moment.

So I had two cycles of IVF and we made some embryos, me and my husband, and they are now in the freezer at St. Bart’s. And then I had surgery. I had about a month of daily radiotherapy.

And then I had hormone therapy, which is tablets to reduce the estrogen in my system because my breast cancer was estrogen positive, which means it was caused by estrogen, which meant that I had to have this drug called tamoxifen.

It reduced the estrogen in my system, which essentially put me into an early menopause really, and I’m no longer on tamoxifen now. So I don’t have any treatment anymore.

Bogan Driscoll:

And how did your treatment and your breast cancer, your experience of it impact…

Because, we’re talking about as women, what’s our relationship with our nipples specifically.

I wonder, how did this whole experience impact your relationship with your breasts and with your nipples?

Clare O’Neill:

Well, I think it’s a really huge subject actually, which I think it’s a really good thing that you guys are doing this podcast and partly just because in general, there is definitely some gender inequality in healthcare and across the board in health care, there is some health inequality there.

And so we don’t really always know everything that we need to know about our bodies. But I found that when I was diagnosed, I think probably like a lot of women actually, who go through breast cancer.

Suddenly, a lot of my ideas of womanhood were all wrapped up in my boob and what that represented.

Breasts are discussed in lots of different contexts. Social, sexual, maternal, and obviously, me having to have fertility treatment, thinking about whether or not I could breastfeed, thinking about whether or not I would keep my breast, sexuality. All of those different things made me challenge all of those notions of womanhood and think about what they really meant to me.

So, it is difficult to think about the nipple and divorce that from the breast, but for me it was really just about... my surgery, the incision was at the site of my areola, which was done for, I guess, aesthetic purposes. So you couldn’t see the scar when it healed.

But my boob changed and it also of course dulls all the nerve endings when you have surgery in your breasts for whatever reason, and any surgery will dull all the nerve endings. So my nipple isn’t as sensitive as the other one. It’s still pretty sensitive, so it’s not really a huge problem. I think there are much bigger problems.

When women have breast cancer, obviously, they’re thinking about their life and they’re thinking about treatment and that’s obviously a priority.

But they’re also thinking about bigger things like confidence, how it’s going to affect their relationship. And so for me, I was worried in the early stages about whether or not I would feel separated from my boob, if I was ever going to like it again, if I was ever going to feel attractive.

I don’t really feel that anymore. My boob is healed and I feel like it is part of me again, but there is always that thing of it’s… I like to say it’s got character now I guess.

Rachel Moss:

I like that.

Brogan Driscoll:

Some signs of breast cancer come from changes in the nipple area, is that right?

Clare O’Neill:

Yeah, absolutely. So, all boobs are different. And this is what we say to women all the time.

You’re the expert when it comes to checking your boobs, so because maybe you have lumpy boobs around your period, and maybe you have inverted nipples. These are things that people sometimes have, right?

But if you don’t usually have inverted nipples, and then suddenly you do have an inverted nipple, that would certainly be a sign that we would want you to contact your GP, if you have any discharge, any bleeding, any crusting around the nipple. These are all potential signs and symptoms of breast cancer. So certainly we would want people to contact their GP if they had any of those symptoms.

Rachel Moss:

So we spoke earlier a lot about body confidence relating to boobs and to nipples. And actually, there was a study out a couple of years ago by Anglia Ruskin University that said if women don’t like their boobs or their nipples, then they’re less likely to check for signs for breast cancer.

What advice would you have for those women? Or is there anything you would tell them about the importance of doing it? How do you get over that hurdle?

Clare O’Neill:

It’s tricky because as I mentioned earlier, boobs are thought about in lots of different contexts, and it’s sometimes really hard to just remember that they are just a part of our body, but I do say to girls, your boobs are yours. They belong to you. You should take ownership and responsibility for them. It is difficult to get people to engage with their boobs. We have had people say to us anecdotally, oh, I don’t want to touch my boobs. It’s almost as though women sometimes feel their boobs are for their partners and not for them.

So there are some really strange relationships out there between women and their boobs and it is difficult to try and get that across. It doesn’t help that we do have that problem with seeing the female nipple as an obscene image or whatever. As though it’s genitals, which it isn’t. But I guess it’s just about people taking responsibility for their own health ultimately.

Rachel Moss:

In really practical terms, how should you check your breasts? Do you have any tips for how you’re meant to feel? Do you start from the bottom and go to the top? I feel breasts are naturally a bit bobbly and lumpy. Or maybe that’s just me, overshare. How do you know what a normal bit of boob gristle is, compared to something that’s problematic?

Clare O’Neill:

Yeah, it is hard because the thing is, we don’t want people to feel signs and symptoms or see signs and symptoms of breast cancer in their boobs, cause we hope that they’re never going to have any. The chances are you’re never going to be any. So it’s tricky.

Before I had breast cancer myself, I would have thought the same thing. Every so often I would have thought, “Is this a lump? Or is this? What is this?”

The more that you do it, the more you get used to what your normal is. I’ve had surgery on my boob now. So I have to get used to a new normal. It’s scary at first because I think, “Oh, is that a hard area?” It’s just for me now it’s scar tissue. I know that scar tissue. So all boobs are different. That’s the important thing.

In terms of actually checking, we don’t say that there’s a specific technique that you should be using for checking your boobs. The only rules I would say is to make sure that you’re doing it properly. So again, it’s not just about feeling, it’s about looking in the mirror as well. Checking right up to your collarbone and under your armpit, where there can also be signs and symptoms, and just being aware of what those signs and symptoms are. It’s not just a lump. It can be anything that’s unusual that you should probably get checked out with your GP, so things like dimples.

Some women who have had breast cancer have said anecdotally that one boob just suddenly felt very hard compared with the other one. They couldn’t necessarily feel a lump but it was just hard.

So that’s the kind of message that I would want to get across really to women, is if you are aware, and you’re doing it regularly and you know your boobs and you know the signs and symptoms of breast cancer then you’re doing it properly.

We often get questions from pregnant women. And that can be much harder to determine what is changes in pregnancy? And what could be a sign or a symptom of breast cancer? Breast cancer in pregnancy is rare, but it does happen.

So we still want women to be checking, and actually pregnant women who get diagnosed with breast cancer actually get diagnosed later. And we also know that black women get diagnosed later than white women. And there are lots of multifactorial reasons why that might be. But I’m very interested and Coppafeel! are very interested in those reasons and trying to address those health inequalities.

Brogan Driscoll:

Thank you so much Clare, that’s so informative.

Clare O’Neill:

They’re welcome.

Brogan Driscoll:

We have one question that we put to each of our podcast guests, which we’d love you to answer, obviously. The question is, what makes you uncomfortable?

Clare O’Neill:

I make myself uncomfortable Brogan. I have that very awkward combination of being probably a fairly outspoken person with really bad anxiety, so I have a really bad filthy mouth problem quite a lot of the time. I would say the answer to your question is... I make myself uncomfortable.

Brogan Driscoll:

Oh Clare, that’s a great answer. Thank you.

Rachel Moss:

Thank you Clare.

Clare O’Neill:

Thanks so much for having me on.

Rachel Moss:

You’ve just listened to Am I Making You Uncomfortable? And our hashtag is #AIMYU

A huge thank you to Emma Low and Clare O’Neill for joining us on today’s podcast. I’m Rachel Moss, and you can find me @rachelmoss_

Brogan Driscoll:

And I’m Brogan Driscoll, and you can follow me @brogan_driscoll

This podcast is produced by Chrystal Genesis and our sound engineer is Nag Kirinde.