A breast cancer survivor has gone viral after sharing a step-by-step guide on how to self check for lumps at home – a routine that she says ‘saved her life’.
Danielle Tropsa, 34, from New York, was diagnosed with cancer four years ago after discovering a lump on her breast – and had to undergo a double mastectomy to prevent it from spreading, as well as aggressive chemotherapy treatment.
‘Given my age at diagnosis being so young, my oncology team and I decided chemo was the next step of my active treatment,’ Danielle, who had a breast reconstruction surgery in 2018, said.
‘I did eight rounds of chemo over six months and an infusion every three weeks of CMF chemotherapy.
Tips: Breast cancer survivor Danielle Tropsa, from New York, has gone viral after sharing a step-by-step guide to checking for lumps at home
Experience: The 34-year-old was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017 after she discovered a lump on her boob and she says that the early detection ‘saved her life’
Warning: Danielle had to undergo aggressive chemotherapy and a double mastectomy to treat her cancer and prevent it from spreading. She had a breast reconstruction in 2018
Take matters into your own hands: How to check your breasts for lumps at home
- Take your three middle fingers and place the flattest part on the nipple
- Starting in the center, make small circles with your fingers, moving slowly outwards until you have examined the entire chest area
- Repeat the same step with your other arm raised in the air
- Feel inside your armpit
- Check your collarbone
- Check the lower part of your neck
- Repeat all steps while lying flat on your back
‘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 2018 I had a rest period before my reconstruction surgery in August 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 666,100 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.
Follow the leader: She is now sharing tips and tricks with other women to help them understand how to check their own breasts – and what signs to look for when they do
Viral: Her self check guide has gone viral on TikTok, racking up more than 3.5 million views
Final step: Danielle is urging others to share the guide so that they can ‘save lives together’
‘Thank youu cuz I think I did feel something but I wasn’t sure I’m gonna go get checked,’ they wrote.
‘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 tumors in their breast tissue.
‘Yeah thank you for these videos because you are how I found mine,’ one wrote.
‘I found a tumor doing this! Thank the lord it was benign!!’ another said.
‘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 eight out of 10 lumps are not cancerous, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
However, you should always follow up with a medical professional at the earliest opportunity.
Know your stuff: As well as posting her guide, Danielle has been open about her own treatment journey, explaining how she felt after chemotherapy and the side effects she experienced
Lesson: ‘It was a tough process and something I learned so much about my body through,’ she said, explaining that her cancer journey has made her much more conscious of her health
Process: Danielle finished chemotherapy in June 2018 and she underwent a breast reconstruction in August of that same year after allowing her body to recover
Caution: Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of the disease among women, other than skin cancer, and it is estimated that one in eight will suffer from the illness in their lifetime
‘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.
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,’ Danielle said
Knowledge: She also reassured women that not all lumps are cancerous – but said it is still important to know when your breasts change
‘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.
The TikTok star has now been cancer free for almost four years, and she revealed that ‘physically she’s feel great’.
‘I feel stronger than ever because cancer really taught me how to pay attention to my health overall,’ she shared.
‘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.’
Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of the disease among women, other than skin cancer, and it is estimated that one in eight will suffer from the illness in their lifetime.
Additionally, health experts recommend 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 doctor who may examine them or refer you to a breast clinic.