A User-Friendly Guide to Understanding & Care
Every woman has a different physical and emotional connection with her body, and some find it challenging to know and understand her breasts. Mass media can make it extra confusing on how we should feel about breasts. From a health aspect, this guide focuses on the importance of breast genes, the secrets of dense tissue, how to be aware of possible changes, and understanding what implants mean.
Like women, there are no two breasts that are exactly the same…even on the same body! This guide will help you to tune-in and think about some breast-related questions. Do you know what genes tell your breasts what they want to say? Are you aware if your breasts boast a dense composition?
Although the American Cancer Society has ceased promoting breast self-exam for average-risk women, knowing your body is imperative to your health. Daily check-ins with your breast help you recognize any unexpected changes in feel or appearance.
It only takes a few minutes. Look in a well-lit mirror, raise your arms and check for:
- Any skin changes, like dimpling or puckering
- Nipples turning inwards
- Any redness, discomfort, or unusual swelling
- Unexpected fluid from the nipples, i.e. watery, milky, yellow, or bloody.
- Gentle Exploration: Lay down and gently feel your breasts. Use the first few fingers, press down softly, and make small circles. Notice any lumps, bumps or tenderness.
If you notice any changes, call your health provider immediately.
Is Genetic Testing Helpful to Know Possible Breast Health Risk?
Genetic testing is an interesting way to learn about your breasts’ history and possible future. Even though they are not very common, BRCA1 and BRCA2 are genes that can make you more likely to get breast cancer. About 5–10% of breast cancer cases are caused by family stories that are passed down through genes. If you can’t get an accurate breast health record from both sides of your family tree, asking your doctor about genetic testing could be a good plan.
What Does it Mean if I Have Dense Breasts?
Dense breast tissue is more than just a descriptor – it’s an insight into your breast health. If your breast tissue is dense, it’s crucial to recognize it, not as a challenge, but as a unique aspect of you. In addition, it is important to know that dense breast tissue can sometimes make mammograms difficult to interpret, and alternative imaging methods provide more clarity.
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For those with dense breast tissue, the path to additional screening beyond mammograms is not universally agreed upon by experts.
3D mammography, or digital breast tomosynthesis, has the potential to detect some cancers that standard 2D mammograms might miss. It’s especially promising for those with dense breasts and can complement or replace traditional mammography. However, it’s worth noting that not all imaging centers offer this technology yet.
Breast ultrasound and MRI are other tools in the screening arsenal. They can reveal cancers that mammograms might overlook. But a word of caution: these methods can sometimes identify benign findings, possibly leading to extra tests or biopsies. Moreover, insurance might not always cover their costs.
As always, a chat with your healthcare provider will guide you best on the right screening approach for you. Browse our vetted Integrative Health provider directory here for additional support.
Breast implants can be a choice of aesthetics or after a medical procedure. But as with everything, knowledge is empowerment. While breast implants can boost confidence, it’s essential to be informed about their journey within you.
Some women have voiced health challenges linked to implants – from subtle whispers of fatigue to loud calls of immune system reactions. Listening to these tales, staying updated, and regular check-ins with your body and health professionals ensure harmony.
Even though six doctors told her they were safe, Australian TV host Andi Lew spent over $14,000 to have her breast implants taken out because they were putting her health at risk. Eight years after her first breast augmentation, she believed she had Breast Implant Illness (BII), which she thinks was caused by implants that had broken and leaked. During this time she experienced problems with her hair, breathing, anxiety, and digestive issues.
Lew told The Daily Telegraph, “I had six surgeons tell me there was nothing wrong.” She is now a strong voice for health awareness, putting light on the possible risks of plastic surgery and encouraging people to take charge of their health.
Getting breast implants can give you more confidence, but it’s important to be aware of your health and get regular check-ups. No matter if it’s a subtle sign from your body or more obvious symptoms, you should always put your health and instincts first.
Loving Your Breasts Starts Today
Our breasts hold stories, and sometimes silent cues that, when understood, can enhance our well-being.
To deepen your journey into breast health, consider connecting with a naturopathic doctor or functional provider. These professionals approach health holistically, considering every aspect of you – from genes to emotions. They offer insights, natural remedies, and personalized care that can be instrumental in your breast health journey.
Knowledge, combined with action, can be the most empowering gift you give yourself. Embrace the opportunity to truly know and love your breasts, and seek out the wisdom that resonates with your unique path.