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Breast Health: It's not just for women!

Breast Health:

It’s not just for women the better you know your body the easier early detection becomes. Breast exams should be conducted monthly at minimum. I have taught my daughter that the most convenient time to conduct your self-breast exam is in the shower. Why the shower? Well that is when your breast are fully exposed and you are able to manipulate them completely. After our shower most of us sit down to apply lotion or other products and look at out selves in the irror which are both important steps in the self exam process. Please see below. Set a reminder in your smartphone for your monthly self- breast exam.

How to do a shower self breast exam:

Step 1: Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips.

Here's what you should look for:

Breasts that are their usual size, shape, and colorBreasts that are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling

If you see any of the following changes, bring them to your doctor's attention:

Dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin. A nipple that has changed position or an inverted nipple (pushed inward instead of sticking out)Redness, soreness, rash, or swelling

Step 2: Now, raise your arms and look for the same changes.

Step 3: While you're at the mirror, look for any signs of fluid coming out of one or both nipples (this could be a watery, milky, or yellow fluid or blood).

Step 4: Next, feel your breasts while lying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few finger pads of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together. Use a circular motion, about the size of a quarter.

Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side — from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage.

Follow a pattern to be sure that you cover the whole breast. You can begin at the nipple, moving in larger and larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast. You can also move your fingers up and down vertically, in rows, as if you were mowing a lawn. This up-and-down approach seems to work best for most women. Be sure to feel all the tissue from the front to the back of your breasts: for the skin and tissue just beneath, use light pressure; use medium pressure for tissue in the middle of your breasts; use firm pressure for the deep tissue in the back. When you've reached the deep tissue, you should be able to feel down to your ribcage.

Step 5: Finally, feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting. Many women find that the easiest way to feel their breasts is when their skin is wet and slippery, so they like to do this step in the shower. Cover your entire breast, using the same hand movements described in step 4.

What if I find a lump?

DO NOT PANIC! Many women have some lumps or lumpy areas in their breasts all the time, and most breast lumps turn out to be benign (not cancer). There are a number of possible causes of non-cancerous breast lumps, including normal hormonal changes, a benign breast condition injury. Contact your primary care provider (PCP). If you have noticed this lump or breast change and lasts more than one full menstrual cycle or seem to get bigger or more prominent in some way you must contct your PCP for evaluation. If you menstruate, you may want to wait until after your period to see if the lump or other breast change disappears on its own before calling your doctor.

The best healthcare provider to call would be one who knows you and has done a breast exam on you before will take a health history and do a physical exam of the breast, and will most likely order breast imaging tests. Expect that an Ultrasound will be the first or only imaging test used to evaluate a lump in women who are under age 30 or are pregnant or breastfeeding. Both an ultrasound and a mammogram are typically recommended to evaluate a lump in women who are over age 30 and not pregnant or breastfeeding. If further testing is needed, your doctor may recommend additional imaging with MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), MBI (molecular breast imaging), and/or a biopsy. He or she may also refer you to a breast specialist (typically, a breast surgeon) for further evaluation.

Make sure you get answers. It’s important that your doctor gives you an explanation of the cause of the lump or other breast change and, if necessary, a plan for monitoring it or treating it. If you’re not comfortable with the advice of the first doctor you see, don’t hesitate to get a second opinion. You must leave with a plan that you are involved with making!

Know your Risk Factors

Familial history, age (30+), gender (it’s us ladies), Weight. Being overweight is associated with increased risk of breast cancer, especially for women after menopause, Diet, lack of Exercise, Alcohol consumption, Smoking, Exposure to estrogen, Recent oral contraceptive use, Stress and anxiety.

In the meantime, here's what dietitians suggest: * Keep your body weight in a healthy range for your height and frame. Body mass index, though not a perfect measurement, can help you estimate your healthy weight. * Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit (more than 5 cups a day). * Try to limit your saturated fat intake to less than 10% of your total calories per day and limit your fat intake to about 30 grams per day. * Eat foods high in omega-3 fatty acids. * Avoid trans fats, processed meats, and charred or smoked foods.

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