Key Breast Health Tips For Every Stage of Your Life

Breast health is becoming increasingly important as more and more women risk developing breast cancer each year. Fortunately there are some informative breast health tips that you can follow to ensure that your breasts remain as healthy as possible throughout your lifetime. Some of these tips can help to catch breast cancer in the earliest stages, ensuring it can be treated quickly, some may even help to prevent breast cancer altogether.

Self Examine Your Breasts

One of the most useful breast health tips is to self examine your breasts at least one per month. This is a fairly easy process that can be done by yourself or a partner in the comfort of your home. Follow these simple steps to complete a breast exam of your own.

  1. Observe your breasts in the mirror as you stand with your hands at your side. Look for any bumps or variations in their normal shape.
  2. While standing place one hand behind your head, and begin to feel firmly around the breast with your fingertips. You can do this in a circular motion, an up and down motion, or in a wedge motion, but you need to remember to do it the same way each month.
  3. Squeeze the nipple of each breast. If you notice any discharge and you are not breastfeeding, report it to your doctor right away.
  4. Lie down and place a pillow behind your right shoulder. Extend your right arm behind your head and use your left hand to check your entire breast and arm pit area. Then reposition the pillow and do the same thing for your other breast.
  5. Report any abnormalities that you may encounter during your exam to your doctor right away.

Correct Breast Feeding

Using proper breast feeding techniques will not only make the whole process more enjoyable,
but it can lower your risk of developing breast cancer as well.

The following, useful breast health tips will help you understand how to correctly breast feed.

  1. To help eliminate enlargement of the breasts, breast feed more frequently and be sure to pump your breast milk if you ever miss a scheduled feed.
  2. Be sure to properly position the baby while breast feeding. Whether you choose the cradle, football, or side lying position, ensure that the baby is in the proper position.
  3. After each feeding apply lanolin oil to your breasts. This will help to prevent your breasts from cracking and drying out.
  4. Feed every one and a half to two hours in the first few months after your baby is born to keep your breasts from becoming engorged, and to discourage the formation of blocked milk ducts.

Breast Health during Menopause

During menopause you have a lot to worry about. To make matters worse, your
chance of developing breast cancer greatly increases during these years. However, there
are several breast health tips that you can follow to help reduce the rick of breast cancer.

  1. Arrange an annual mammogram screening.
  2. Regularly perform a breast self examine once per month
  3. Try to exercise daily and avoid gaining excess weight.
  4. Try to reduce your alcohol consumption or limit it within health guidelines.
  5. Be sure to get your daily dose of folic acid vitamin D.

At all stages of your life, no matter what age you are, it is important to take steps to keep your breasts healthy and cancer free. The breast health tips above are just a few of the ways that you can keep your breasts healthy. By investing a little time and discussing breast health with your doctor you can minimize any risks involved during the key times in your life.

Breast Health – Dispelling Fears

(The information contained in this article does not constitute medical advice; please consult a physician if you have questions about breast health issues raised in this article.)
 
The primary, if not number one, concern of American women is that they will develop breast cancer. At least that was the biggest fear of those who answered a government survey in 2005. Dread of the disease lurks in the hearts of those who have witnessed their friends and relatives die of it.  Adverse breast health also has a psychosocial component, fueled by fears of loss of femininity, beauty, youthful appearance, sex appeal, marital intimacy and other factors valued in Western culture.
 
Women need not fear the disease as they have in the past. I had it at 43, and again at 52. Now at 56 I am cancer free, living a full life. Not only do I garden, enjoy my sons, and write, but I also volunteer for the American Cancer Society and the National Lymphedema Network, an organization dedicated to helping people with lymphedema, a swelling that can be caused by cancer surgery or radiation. Helping others takes my mind off my plight. 
 

While in 2009 new cases of invasive breast cancer in the U.S. are predicted by the American Cancer Society to be 192,370 and deaths 40,170, the good news is that fewer women are dying of the disease than in prior years. New treatments have revolutionized patient care, the result of multiple clinical trials testing new chemo regimens and targeted therapies such as Herceptin, Tykerb, Avastin, and aromatase inhibitors. Early detection also plays a role: the sooner the disease is found, the sooner it can be treated before it spreads. Mammograms, clinical checkups, and self-exams are important prevention tools, especially starting at age 40 if no other risks exist.
 
A closer look at breast health reveals that while some risk factors can’t be changed, including age, genetics, race, and family history, some lifestyle choices can reduce the risk of receiving a breast cancer diagnosis. One proven factor appears to be obesity. If a woman falls within that category (a body-mass index (BMI) of 30 or more), she should try to lose weight. Another factor in the breast-cancer-risk equation is exercise: swimming, walking, climbing and jogging exemplify the kind of aerobic activities that are beneficial to breast health.
 
Women who never bore children, and those who gave birth to their first child after 30, face a slightly higher risk of breast cancer.  Being pregnant multiple times in her twenties improves breast health for women, perhaps because pregnancy reduces the total number of lifetime menstrual cycles.
 
Those using birth control pills have a slightly greater risk of breast cancer than women who never used them.  A doctor can elaborate on the risks and benefits of birth control pills.
 
Another factor shown to increase the risk of breast cancer is long-term use of progesterone hormone therapy (PHT) or estrogen replacement therapy (ERT). Again, a knowledgeable physician should be able to discuss the pros and cons of using these types of hormone therapies. One suggestion might be to use the lowest effective dose for the shortest period of time necessary.
 
Breast-feeding may slightly lower breast cancer risk, particularly if it lasts 1½ to 2 years. This could be because breast-feeding lowers a woman’s total number of menstrual periods, as does pregnancy.
 
Studies have shown that use of alcohol increases the risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer. Women who consume two to five drinks daily have about 1½ times the risk of women who don’t drink.  For optimum breast health experts suggest limiting drinks to one a day, preferably only two to three times a week.
 
If a close family member had breast cancer, the woman should make sure she is monitored more closely, and ask her doctor if she should be checked for the BRCA-1 or -2 gene and if she is a good candidate for daily tamoxifen or some other preventative drug, or even for preventative surgery. 
 
It is important to remember that while breast health should be monitored regularly, there is no need to obsess over it or fear it to the point that activities like work and parenting get shoved aside. In other words, we should enjoy life! A breast cancer diagnosis is not the end of the world. 
 
Women are encouraged to take charge of their lives and dispel the myths that might be keeping them paralyzed in fear of their breast health going awry. 

Take Charge of Your Own Breast Health

In North America, the incidence of Breast Cancer has increase almost three-fold in 40 years, going from 1 in 20 in the 1960′s to 1 in 8 today. From the age of twenty, women should do monthly breast self-examinations. Breast cancers tend to grow significantly faster in younger women under age 50. Despite billions of dollars raised for research to “Find the Cure,” the risk of breasts cancer today is greater than ever before. It’s critically important for women to take charge of their health through these screenings and to understand that survivability is greatly enhanced when breast cancer is found early. 

Because when it comes to breast health, knowledge is more than power-it’s confidence. Women can help with the early detection and treatment of breast cancer by playing an active role in their own health care. While there are some different recommendations from medical organizations on the value of breast self-exams, all women’s health organizations agree about the value of annual clinical breast exams, and the importance of regular mammograms after the age of 40. Breast health is more than just luck, genetics, where you live or what you eat. 

Staying healthy is a challenge that engages our body, mind, and spirit.  No matter what your age or position in life, understanding the connection between a healthy lifestyle and healthy breasts is vitally important. Breast health is on a continuum with normal healthy breast tissue at one end and cancer at the other. You can certainly go from no pathology to cancer and you can slide down the continuum and never develop breast cancer, but not accepting unhealthy changes in your breasts is proactive and may very well prevent cancer. Also, you may lower your risk of breast cancer by living a healthy lifestyle, including eating a low-fat, high-fiber diet and exercising. 

Most people are familiar with the antioxidant process, and many include this in there daily routines, but not many are aware that this is just the first step to a healthy body.   Antioxidants are beneficial because they affix themselves to free radicals while absorbing the elements before they have the ability to infiltrate healthy normal tissues. It is in everyone’s health interests, to include regular daily amounts of the best antioxidants in their diets, in support of healthy lifestyles. 

Only 10% of breast health issues are attributed to family genes, the higher percentage due to environmental, dietary or lifestyle issues. Antioxidants are intimately involved in the prevention of cellular damage — the common pathway for cancer, aging, and a variety of diseases. Antioxidants are key elements in preventing cancer, because they stabilize highly reactive free radicals that can otherwise damage our DNA and begin the process of cancer development.