Talking about breasts is important. So important, in fact, that Sarah Gandy is hosting a new podcast series about it.
Boobs are great. They’re useful. They look awesome. They can be pretty fun. Sometimes they can try to kill you, but for the most part they’re a generally good time. They’re also kinda great to talk about. I’ve found myself talking about boobs a lot over the last three years, so it’s only natural that eventually I’d find myself hosting a podcast dedicated specifically to boob chat.
Three years ago I discovered a lump in my breast. I’ve told my story many times now – how I was sitting in bed when I felt it, how I was diagnosed and underwent six rounds of chemotherapy, 15 rounds of radiotherapy, 18 rounds of targeted therapy and a nine-hour surgery combining a mastectomy with a breast reconstruction. As hard as it is for me to relive that wildly unfun ride, I want it to be heard because I know how lucky I am. I tell my story to empower others to check their boobs and to know their body.
Once I started sharing that story, I realised the huge stigma that surrounds our boobs. Stigma that was stopping us talking about our bodies, and even avoiding them altogether. How are we meant to protect ourselves if we’re not paying attention?
That’s why I’m so excited to be hosting Breast Assured: a new podcast bringing you all the realness of boob talk, speaking to people about their own unique boob stories – from the doctors who helped me, to poets, patients and friends. It’s not just about cancer, it really is about all things breasts. The beautiful, funny, awkward, empowering world of boobs.
With Breast Assured we hope to smash some of the taboo that exists around boobs and talk frankly about the best and worst things our “breast friends” have to offer. Morgan Penn from The Trainee Sexologist podcast joins us in the first episode filled with honest chat and hilarious insights. And my friend and king of questions Tom Sainsbury also stops by to talk about my boob journey.
One guest, Nina, tells her story about having a breast reduction as a young woman, exploring how body image and mental health are so interlinked. We have Dr Eletha Taylor – who I was incredibly lucky to have as my surgeon – to talk about the mechanics of boobs and how mental health is a huge factor in everything she does.
Arihia Hall, one of the amazing poets from Ngā Hinepūkōrero has written poetry with Breast Cancer Foundation NZ to encourage people to get mammograms. She shares her perspectives as a young woman who hadn’t really thought much about breast health before and who is growing to love their boobs more and more every day.
Breast cancer is the number one cause of death for New Zealand women under 65. More than 3,300 women are diagnosed each year – that’s nine a day. And one of these nine is under 45. Early detection is your best protection – breast cancer is most treatable when it’s caught early. Getting to know your boobs will mean you’re able to ‘know your normal’ and get any changes checked out straight away. And that’s why we need to talk about our boobs.
My story of breast cancer is unique to me, but there are many others who have their own stories to share. It’s only through telling these stories that we learn about how amazing and special our bodies are. It’s not just cisgender females who are, or should be breast aware. Societal and health changes have contributed to an increase in men getting breast reductions, and boobs are a massive mental and physical health consideration for transgender communities. Boobs really are a consideration for everyone.
My hope is to open an honest, joyful, fascinating conversation for people, because if things don’t feel so hush-hush we’re more likely to get help or talk to someone, and that can be life saving. Since speaking out about my experience I have had people reach out in DMs, and ask me in person about everything to do with breasts. From young women telling me they now feel empowered to get to know their own boobs to parents wanting to encourage their own kids to be more proactive. These conversations are so incredibly valuable. This is why we’ve created this podcast.
Breast Assured is for all ages and all genders. It’s for anyone who has boobs, wants boobs, doesn’t want boobs, or wants to know more about boobs and why they’re so special. Do you have a human body? Then this podcast is for you! It’s for anyone who wants to understand themselves a bit better, or understand their friends, family and loved ones.
I hope it’s the start of a discussion that ends with people being more comfortable in their bodies, because being comfortable in your own body can only ever be a good thing. In the immortal words of Salt-N-Pepa – let’s talk about breasts baby.