An estimated 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetimes, so it’s important for every woman to be proactive about her breast health. With age, your body and breasts will undergo certain changes, and your doctor will recommend breast care tips to address your changing needs and risk factors.
Even though women in their twenties have a relatively low risk of breast cancer, all young women should follow some simple breast care tips. Every month, you should perform a breast self-exam. It’s best to do this exam at the same time each month, ideally after your period. You should also visit your OBGYN for yearly wellness exams. It’s common for younger women to experience breast pain or fibrocystic changes (lumpiness) due to hormones.
This is a time when many women become pregnant. Some breast-feeding mothers develop mastitis, an infection that causes flu-like symptoms and breast pain, swelling, and redness. If you have these symptoms, a visit to the doctor is needed for antibiotics and to rule out other conditions. Women in their thirties should continue to perform regular breast self-exams and schedule annual clinical exams. At age 35, you should have a baseline mammogram.
At this age, women are more likely to develop benign breast cysts. These soft, fluid-filled cysts are seldom detected by a self-exam; however, they may show up on mammograms as abnormalities. To rule out breast cancer, your doctor will likely recommend a breast ultrasound or biopsy. Women in their forties should undergo annual mammograms, annual clinical exams, and monthly self-exams for good breast health.
50s and Older
According to the American Cancer Society, 77% of breast cancers are diagnosed in women age 50 and older, and your risk continues to increase with age. Older women should be especially aware of their risk and maintain regular self-exams, yearly clinical exams, and yearly mammograms. Post-menopausal women may also wish to reevaluate hormone replacement therapy, as it can increase breast cancer risk.
The Breast Care Center at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota is dedicated to providing women with comprehensive, coordinated breast diagnostics and treatment. For more information about our breast care services, please call (888) 685-1596 or visit our website.