What can you do to keep your breasts healthy? Breast health is important to maintain through all stages of life, but if you’re like most women, how to care for your breasts may be a mystery. Your OB/GYN will be your partner in making sure your breasts stay healthy, but you can also take control of your own breast health.
Know Your Breasts
Your OB/GYN will perform a breast exam when you come in for your annual visit, but it’s important for you to know what is normal for your breasts so you can detect any changes early. The American Cancer Society says that starting in your 20s, monthly breast self-examinations, usually conducted just after your period ends, may help you notice breast changes early. Your doctor can show you how to correctly perform a breast self-examination. Report any changes in your breast to your doctor immediately, but don’t panic. Most breast lumps are benign cysts and not an indication of a more serious issue.
Talk to Your Doctor About Screenings
In your 20s and 30s, you should see your doctor for an annual breast exam. Starting at age 40, you should have a yearly mammogram to screen for breast health issues. These guidelines are suitable for many women, but if you have an increased risk of breast cancer, you may need additional screening tests. Talk about any history of breast cancer in your family. If you have a family history of breast cancer or if you have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, which is a breast cancer risk factor, talk to your doctor about other screening options. You may benefit from a yearly breast MRI along with your mammogram.
Maintain Good Overall Health
Overall health plays an enormous role in breast health. Regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating a healthy diet are all important. Limiting alcohol and avoiding smoking will also help keep your breasts healthy.
The MemorialCare Breast Center at Saddleback Memorial can help you manage your breast health. Call us today at (949) 837-4500 to schedule a mammogram or to learn more about our services.