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Why you should get your annual exams, breast cancer exam | the skinny confidential

{ THE BOOBS phone case }

There’s nothing worse than going to the gyno & having to put your legs into freezing cold stirrups while the doctor stares up your uterus.

I mean I feel like a root canal while drinking bad Chardonnay sounds more fun.

HOWEVER it’s something every girl on the planet needs to do.

You know, I hate to sounds preachy- I never want to be preachy. Typically I want to show what works for me & then YOU can take what you want & LEAVE what you don’t want but I had an interaction the other day that inspired me to use the platform of The Skinny Confidential. To use it in a way to get through to any young girls who read the blog.

The interaction was at the conference, SIMPLY. I spoke on makeup & beauty which is light, fluffy, & flirty. Afterwards I got to meet a bunch of you guys- all hustlers- all cool- all great attitude. No surprise there.

Anyway, a beautiful girl named Chelsea ( who is a blogger behind Dress To Thrive ) came up to me after I got done speaking & told me she needed the phone case on my phone! It was THE BOOBS case in bubblegum pink I designed. I told her I’d love to send her one & got her info.

She told me that the reason she needed the case is because she’s a breast cancer survivor.

I think my jaw kind of dropped because Chelsea looks so young?

She was diagnosed at 27 years old.

TWENTY.SEVEN.YEARS.OLD. If that doesn’t rock you, I don’t know what will.

That is a young age to deal with radiation & chemotherapy. Obviously any age is horrific, 27 years old just feels young for breast cancer.

She beat cancer & she’s thriving now. Chelsea told me she caught the cancer because of her annual breast exam. Let me repeat this: she found out she had breast cancer from her annual breast exam & caught it in time to proactively do something about it.

Chelsea is NOT BRCA positive ( the “breast cancer gene” ) and had absolutely no family history of breast cancer. It’s not something that only happens to young women if you have a genetic predisposition. In fact, Chelsea told me that during her treatment she learned that typically when young women get breast is is MORE likely to be sporadic than due to genetics.Chelsea had a double mastectomy. No one is immune, so be proactive!


There’s absolutely no excuse for women to not get an annual. And I am totally fine with being annoying right now & telling you: A BREAST EXAM & PAP SMEAR IS ESSENTIAL for women. Every year. Not every two years- every year.

An annual exam will test you from everything to STD’s, to HPV, to cancer, etc. Also you can talk to your gyno about the best birth control methods– they’re super knowledgeable when it comes to prescribing the lowest hormone options. AND guess what? You will sleep soundly after.

Yes, it fucking sucks to be naked with a doctors scope up your vagina…but you know what sucks more? Having to deal with HPV, STD’s, &/or cancer.

It’s so important guys. If you haven’t scheduled one in a while, I am encouraging you to stop reading & schedule an appointment. Schedule a breast exam, Pap Smear, meeting with your gyno, whatever.

At-home breast exams are amazing- DO THEM. But don’t replace them for your annual exam.

Some stats for you:

Definition-wise, a “Pap smear is used to screen for cervical cancer. The Pap smear is usually done in conjunction with a pelvic exam. In women older than age 30, the Pap test may be combined with a test for human papillomavirus (HPV) — a common sexually transmitted infection that can cause cervical cancer in some women.” And a breast exam is: “A clinical breast exam (CBE) is a physical exam done by a health care provider. It is often done during your regular medical check-up. A CBE should be performed by a health care provider well trained in the technique.”


  • Women may do a monthly breast self-exam. However, experts do not agree about the benefits of breast self-exams in finding breast cancer or saving lives. Talk to your provider about what is best for you.
  • If you have a mother or sister who had breast cancer at a young age, consider yearly mammograms. They should begin earlier than the age at which their youngest family member was diagnosed.
  • If you have other risk factors for breast cancer, your provider may recommend a mammogram, breast ultrasound, or MRI scan.
  • Contact your provider right away if you notice a change in your breasts, whether or not you do breast self-exams.
  • If you are between ages 20 to 40, your provider may do a clinical breast exam.


  • Beginning at age 21, women should have a pelvic exam and Pap smear every 3 years ( I THINK IT SHOULD BE YEARLY!! ) to check for cervical cancer.
  • If you are over age 30 and your Pap smear and HPV test are normal, you only need a Pap smear every 5 years.
  • If you have had your uterus and cervix removed ( total hysterectomy ) and you have not been diagnosed with cervical cancer you may not need to have Pap smears.
  • Women who are sexually active should be screened for chlamydia and gonorrhea up until age 25. Women 25 years and older should be screened if at high risk.
  • Your provider will tell you how to prevent infections spread through sexual contact. These are called sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • Your provider will ask you questions about alcohol & tobacco and may ask you about depression.

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For the record, I go every year on the same date. I go to Dr. Lee in Solana Beach ( if you’re in San Diego, she’s great ).

Health is wealth! Get on board with annual exams.

Does anyone want to weigh in on this? I would love to hear your experience or questions. If you’re scared or nervous to do an annual- don’t be. It’s really not a big deal. It’s quick & typically painless. Happy to answer any of your questions below but if you have something more personal to discuss feel free to e-mail me.


Ok, that’s all. Done with my public service announcement.

We are at Tony Robbins right now having the best time- will do a full podcast/blog recap on the seminar. Personally I am here for self-improvement & to refine my business strategy.

Speaking of strategy, since a bunch of you are interested in branding/business growth: I am going to giveaway a 15 minute FaceTime call with me to discuss your blog/business. All you have to do is tell me ALL about your blog/biz on my latest Instagram– I want to hear the WHAT, WHY, HOW. I’ll pick the winner on Sunday. Good luck!

Oh & WOO! I walked on fire last night! EEK.

Love you guys- get your annual exams, XO lauryn

+ also check Chelsea out– she’s thriving & doing amazing. SHE IS A BRIGHT LIGHT.

  1. I have my annual scheduled in two weeks, but a great reminder! My grandmother had breast cancer so I want to be as proactive as possible. Also, I just commented your instagram with my latest business endeavor!

  2. Awesome post, Lauryn. This was the kick in the ass I needed to get it scheduled. Chelsea is a rockstar. It’s something I’m always nervoud about – so uncomfortable! but that’s the worst reason to not do it. Scheduling now thanks to you. Appreciate you talking about this btw. xx Shannon ||

  3. I’ve never been one to visit the gyno very often but reading this has made me realise how important it is! x

    Ariadna || RAWR BOWS

  4. Woah. I just turned 27 and I’ve never gotten a breast exam! Scheduling on Monday! I’m on HRT so I have to watch out for breast cancer, which is a potential risk . Thank you thank you thank you!!! Pri

  5. Yaaas, I love that you advocate for this kinda stuff!! So important. Also very funny that you see Dr.Lee in Solana Beach- she was my mom’s OB/GYN and delivered me via emergency c-section! That was the last time I saw her so maybe I should stop by again haha!

  6. WOW so your blog post totally hit home for me because due to living abroad and limited health coverage I haven’t been able to get an annual exam for two years. The other day I went to Planned Parenthood and they refused to do an annual exam on me because I had one two years ago. They said that it wasn’t medically necessary for me to get one. I felt a bit dumbfounded that I was being denied an exam that Im wanting to get. So they sent me home and no annual exam. I don’t buy the every three years things. You can develop cancer in that time. I get why they feel that getting over papped is bad but If i want to know if I’m ok I shouldn’t be denied the exam.

  7. This is a great post!
    In France you get check ups for free and whenever they do a real analysis in a lab, most of it is reimbursed.
    In Germany (where I live now), only quick check-ups are for free and whenever a lab analysis is required, you have to pay for it, it is kind of shocking for me.
    I do it anyway of course, but basically if you don´t have the money you don´t get the full check-up…I heard it was the same in the UK, so probably in the US as well?
    In France there is a lot of prevention, here not so much…I find it scary! It should be encouraged everywhere and reimbursed as much as possible.

  8. Thank you thank you for posting about such an important matter. I love ALL of your posts but I’m so glad you’re using your blog to make the world a little better!

    Emma | Seeking the South

  9. My mom started making me go for an annual pap smear/breast exam at 18 due to her having complications growing up. At 19 I found out I had HPV. I was told it was common and would most likely go away within 6 months. I had to get a pap smear and colposcopy ever 6 months. I lost weight, didn’t smoke, got the gardasil shot and basically did everything the doctors suggested. Needless to say it didn’t go away and remained low grade till I was 25. At 25 in a matter of months my diagnosis changed to high grade even though nothing physically changed for me. I was married at this point too and our sexual partners hadn’t changed in a couple of years. I ended up getting a LEEP procedure where they basically laser your uterus. It wasn’t painful but it was a 6 week recovery where I couldn’t have sex or be submerged in water. 6 months after the procedure and I was HPV free, and still am at 30. I didn’t mean for this to be a novel but my point is Lauryn is right. Annual exams are so important for your health and well being. If I didn’t get my annuals who knows where I would be today.

  10. I was diagnosed with breast cancer 2 years ago at 41. I found my tumor during a self exam. My biggest piece of advice is to know your body and don’t be afraid to exam yourself.

  11. There’s no such thing as an “annual exam” anymore. In 2012 the new official guidelines are to have a Pap smear every 3 years from ages 21-65, unless you have a history of abnormal Paps.

    You may disagree with this, but a primary reason is to reduce unnecessary and over- treatments (for example, a lot of small abnormalities resolve on their own). In medicine, unnecessary and over treatment causes people a ton of emotional stress, and it also kills them. The recommendations come from doctors who specialize in gynecology.

    1. While it is true that pap smears are not necessary every year, regular breast examination and self examination is extremely important too!

    2. Self-examination is actually no longer recommended. There is moderate or high certainty that self-exams have no net benefit.

    3. That makes sense too, to each their own. I just wanted to make sure that TSC readers were aware of how important they are. xx

  12. ❤️ This Lauryn! What a great reminder (love this font BTW). You know I had skipped a year getting my mamo (yes, I hate to admit I’m in the ‘over 40’ category) & I know I have dense breasts which can sometimes make the radiograph hard to read. Well 2 weeks after I had that, I got laid off from my job which meant that the insurance I had would terminate at the end of the month. Wouldn’t you know it that I got a call from the Radiology dept indicating they need to recheck… we’ll at that point I no longer had insurance & it would cost me $450 out of pocket. I was upset because I could tell the radiology tech wasn’t confident in her picture taking. Long story short, I was able to meet the qualifications for getting a free mammogram through Susan G. Kolmen & the staff doing it were pros. The results were fine, but it was indeed a scare. Now in a couple of weeks I’ll be going for my pap, which I haven’t had in 3 yrs (I used to go annually but then the guidelines changed recommending every 3 yrs). I think I will go back to doing this annually. Lastly, the thought of ovarian cancer scarex me as there aren’t real obvious symptoms or screenings to test for. I had a former ci-worker/friend my sane age who was diagnosed about a year ago & I have been following her journey through the fight.

  13. Thank you so much for this post! I’m a nurse in a hospital’s women and children program and I cannot stress enough the importances of regular checkups! Thank you for using your platform to bring awareness to something so important. Xoxox

  14. reproductive issues run in my family and I had an abnormal Pap last year as well as a cervical cancer scare & a HPV diagnosis at 25. it’s made me a huge advocate for getting your lady bits checked. thanks for this!

  15. So important! I skipped my pap smears for many years (didn’t have the time/money… so ridiculous) and when I finally had one about a year ago I found out I had cell changes. Now cell changes are not cancer but can turn into cancer, but my mind, of course, went straight to “OK so now I’m gonna die” and viewed it as my “punishment” for not going for so many years. As I hadn’t been going they couldn’t know if the changes where increasing or not, so I had to have them removed. Not a biggie, and now I will go every six months to make sure they don’t come back. Didn’t know that I should have breast exams though! I live in Sweden and they are not standard here – you start having mammograms at 35 or something but that’s about it, and most people (me included…) don’t do a yearly check-up they just go for the pap smear which is you can do at special slots you don’t need to book. Need to find a good gyno asap I think!

  16. Yes! Love it. Your gyn can give a breast exam. Also, if your breasts start to look different, see if your doc will let you send photos on your secure hmo website. Then he/she can let you know if you should come in right away or if it’s a false alarm. That’s how i got my skin cancer diagnosed.

  17. It’s good to know that women should get annual pap smears and breast exams. My wife was wondering how often she needs to get breast exams. I’ll let her know that she should get these exams every year.

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