Breast health plays a significant role in a woman’s overall wellness. Several factors play a vital part in maintaining ideal breast function. Often, women seek out medical advice once they become concerned about things that just don’t seem quite normal such as discharge, drainage, lumps, rashes, or pain. It is important that anyone who notices changes contacts a health professional before a serious problem occurs. The most important step a woman can take to ensure healthy breast functions is to schedule regular exams, and know their body. This will make unexplained changes easier to spot, and in many cases, early detection and treatment are critical.
learning about lumps in the breast
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promoting healthy breast function
Steps you can take:
Get To Know Your Breasts: Perform monthly self-breast exams. By familiarizing yourself, you will be more likely to detect if there has been a change in color, size or shape. If you notice any unexplained changes, it is important to contact your doctor for further evaluation.
Stay Active: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and weight are necessary steps in taking measures to reduce your chances of breast cancer. After menopause, the risk of developing breast cancer rises. There are also dietary changes you can make to assist your body in keeping your breasts functioning normally. Reduce alcohol intake and boost your fruits and vegetables.
Schedule Regular Mammograms: Although quick self-exams can assist in early detection, mammograms can show breast cancer and changes in the breast long before your doctor, or you can feel them. Mammograms should be scheduled with your women’s health physician on an annual basis.
Signs of unhealthy breast function:
- Abnormal mammograms or screenings
- Discoloration of nipple
- Drainage from nipple
Contact your physician if you are experiencing any of the listed abnormalities for further evaluation. With numerous acting cells, ducts, tissue, and lobules, your breasts can be subjected to a wide variety of ailments. From minor complications due to injury or age to more serious concerns like cancer. It is important to pay close attention to your body so you can increase your chances of noticing an issue should one arise.
Breast cancer: Malignant (cancer) cells multiplying abnormally in the breast, eventually spreading to the rest of the body if untreated. If you experience lumps, bloody discharge from nipple or changes in your skin it is important to seek a professional evaluation.
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS): Breast cancer in the duct cells that has not traveled deeper or spread through the body. Women diagnosed with DCIS have a high likelihood of being cured.
Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS): Although called a carcinoma LCIS, which occurs in the milk-producing lobule cells, this does not travel or spread and is not a “true” cancer. However, women with LCIS have an elevated likelihood of developing invasive breast cancer in the future.
Invasive ductal carcinoma: Breast cancer that begins in the duct cells but then travels deeper into the breast, with the potential of spreading to the rest of the body (metastasizing). Invasive ductal carcinoma is the most common type of invasive breast cancer.
Simple breast cyst: A benign (noncancerous), fluid-filled sac which commonly develops in women in their 30s or 40s. Breast cysts may cause tenderness and can be drained.
Breast fibroadenoma: A very common noncancerous solid tumor of the breast. A typical fibroadenoma creates a painless, mobile lump in the breast which most commonly occurs in women in their 20s or 30s.
Fibrocystic breast disease: A common condition in which noncancerous breast lumps may become uncomfortable and change in size throughout the menstrual cycle.
Intraductal papilloma: A noncancerous, wart-like breast mass which grows inside the breast ducts. Intraductal papillomas can be felt as a lump and can cause clear or bloody fluid to leak from the nipple.
Mastitis: Inflammation of the breast, and can cause pain, redness, excessive warmth, and swelling. Nursing mothers are at higher risk for mastitis, due to infection.
Breast calcifications: Calcium deposits in the breast appear commonly on mammograms. Upon this finding, often times further tests or biopsies are suggested.
The professionals at High Plains Surgical Associates know talking about breast health and functions can be difficult, and are dedicated to making your comfort and privacy a number one priority. If you are experiencing lumps, pain, drainage, infection, rashes or discoloration contact HPSA today to schedule your consultation and talk with us about treatment options.