A woman’s body is always changing. It changes during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, breastfeeding and menopause (when menstrual period ends). Women especially need to pay attention to changes in their breast because all women are at risk of breast cancer. Breast are made up of glands, fat, and fibrous (thickened) tissue. They respond to changes in levels of the hormones and estrogen and progesterone during your menstrual cycle. Hormones cause a change in the amount of fluid in the breast. You may also notice other changes and tests:
- Aspiration Biopsy: A procedure in which fluid or tissue within a cyst is withdrawn through a needle for study.
- BRCA1 and BRCA2: Genes that increase your risk of breast cancer and certain other types of cancer.
- Breast Implants: Sacs filled with saline or silicone gel that are placed in the breast or chest area.
- Estrogen: A female hormone produced in the ovaries that stimulates the growth of the lining of the uterus.
- Fibrocystic Changes: Formation of benign cysts and lumps of various sizes in the breast.
- Genes: DNA “blueprints” that code for specific traits, such as hair and eye color.
- Hormone Therapy (HT): Treatment in which estrogen, and often progestin, is taken to help relieve some of the symptoms caused by the low levels of hormones produced by the body.
- Mammography: A procedure in which X-rays of the breasts are used to detect breast cancer.
- Progesterone: A female hormone that is produced in the ovaries and that prepared
- Progesterone: A female hormone that is produced in the ovaries and that prepares the lining of the uterus for pregnancy.
Clinical Breast Exam
Women aged 20-30 years should have a breast exam by a health care provider every 1-3 years. Women aged 40 years and older should have an exam annually. A breast exam by a health care provider takes only a short time. The breasts are first checked for any changes in size or shape. The health care provider also looks for puckers, dimples, or redness of the skin. You should tell your health care provider if you have seen any discharge from your nipples or any other changes. He or she will then check each breast for signs of problems.
Breast Problems In Women
Most breast problems in women produce only minor symptoms. Because all women are at risk of breast cancer, you should be aware of how your breast feel. Regular breast self-exams can help. Let your health care provider if you notice any changes. Most breast problems, especially in younger women, are benign (not cancer). Common symptoms include:
- Lumps (which may be felt in one exact place or throughout the breast)
- Discharge from the nipple
- Tender areas
Check your breasts every month by doing a self exam. Contact us for any questions or to set up an appointment at the first sign of any problem and get recommended mammograms.