People have been intrigued by breasts for thousands of years. As young women, it’s one of the first things we notice about our changing bodies. They sustain life through breast feeding and can elicit sexual pleasure. Some people love their breasts, others would like to change them. Maintaining healthy breasts is important for every woman. Whether she wants to become a mother or not. Whether she wants to change them or not.
The first steps to maintain healthy breasts is your over all health. Maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol, not smoking and exercise all play a vital role in your physical (and mental) health along with keeping those ta-ta’s healthy.
Next would be the self-breast exam. Around age 18 women should start to examine their breasts monthly at home. The self-exam starts by laying down, one arm over your head, with the other hand (pads of your fingers) feeling in small circles around ALL the breast tissue. Yes, there is breast tissue in your armpit, so start there. In each area do three circles, light, medium and deep, feeling for any lumps or unexpected bumps. Continue this process from the armpit down towards your bra line, up and down until you reach the nipple.
Once finished with the outer part of your breast, you’ll examine the inside (sternum to nipple) area. Your arm will come down to perpendicular (think T shaped) with your body and elbow bent. Repeat the same circle process as before.
Whew. Part one done. Now you’ll need to do a visual exam. Look in a mirror with arms at your sides and check for changes in shape, skin, nipples and vein patterns. Now look for those same things with your arms above your head, slightly bent forward, then with hands on hips and hunched over.
If you notice any changes, lumps or bumps from month to month contact your doctor. 80% of lumps are not cancerous but it still good to have it checked out by a professional. Also worth noting, some women have fibrocystic breast tissue, meaning they naturally have lumpy breasts, and this is not a concern, just the way you were made.
The third step to maintaining your breast health is an annual physical check by your primary care physician (or PCP). For many women this is done during an annual physical and Pap smear, but if you do not have these regularly you will still want to have your breasts examined by your PCP. At this visit they will conduct a similar exam to the self-exam, only more through (and with an expert’s hands). Between age 45-50 women should start to receive mammograms yearly in addition to the PCP exam. Women with a family history of breast cancer (especially those that have been tested and have the BRCA gene) are recommended to start mammograms 10 years before the person was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Every woman’s body is unique and beautiful. It’s so important to take care of all of it, particularly your bodacious bosom. Do what you can to stay healthy, examine your knockers, and give yourself some self-love through a self-exam.
For More information visit these sites:
Additional information on BRCA 1 & 2 Genes