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Keeping Your Breasts Healthy At Any Age

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Keeping Your Breasts Healthy At Any Age

In this article we take a look at the changes that occur in the breasts as women age.

It’s natural for women to obsess about their breasts, over the years changes in shape, size and tone, as well as random strange pains mean you are continually faced with new questions and concerns.

In this article we take a look at these changes and highlight the main concerns that face all women as they age.

healthy breasts Keeping Your Breasts Healthy At Any Age

Your breasts in your 30s

In your 30s, your breasts should still have good elasticity and tone. Those who have children will have noticed changes post birth. Whilst your breast size increases during pregnancy, you may permanently go down as much as one cup size after the birth. This is due to a phenomenon called breast involution, a process in which the milk-making system shrinks as it is no longer needed.

Your most common concern

breast cancer fibrocystic b Keeping Your Breasts Healthy At Any Age

Around this age group it is quite common for women to develop fibrocystic breasts. This is term used to describe tender lumps that appear on the breasts, these lumps are usually caused by hormonal changes, says Holly Smedira, M.D., a medical breast specialist at the Cleveland Clinic Breast Center.

Although the condition maybe uncomfortable, it is benign and does not increase the risk of breast cancer. To relieve symptoms you can try cutting back on caffeine, as well as taking supplements like evening primrose oil (a natural form of fatty acid thought to interfere with the inflammatory compounds that trigger breast pain).

For severe cases, the doctor may prescribe Danazol, a steroid derivative that decreases the level of reproductive hormones, or Tamoxifen, a drug usually used for breast cancer patients that relieves pain by blocking estrogen receptors.

Best breast-cancer-screening strategy:

breast cancer check Keeping Your Breasts Healthy At Any Age

It is advised to have at least one baseline mammogram between the ages of 35 – 40; you should also start doing monthly self examinations on your breasts and be aware of any changes.

Although the American Cancer Society issued new guidelines for breast-cancer screening in 2003, making self-exams optional, experts say they’re still a must-do.

“The more you examine your breasts, the more likely you are to differentiate between normal hormone-related bumpiness and a potentially precancerous growth,” says Julia Smith, M.D., director of the New York University Cancer Institute Breast Cancer Screening and Prevention Program.

If you come from a family with a history of one or more first degree relatives with breast or ovarian cancer, you should begin having regular annual mammograms 10 years before the age at which your relative was diagnosed.

For example of your mom was diagnosed with breast cancer at 45, you should begin yearly mammograms at the age of 35.

If your family history contains more two or more cases of the disease it is a good idea to have genetic screening to see if you are a carrier of BRCA gene.

Best breast-saving move:

breast cancer sports bra Keeping Your Breasts Healthy At Any Age

A good sports bra can help combat future droopiness. A recent study by researchers at the University of Portsmouth in England, have found that when you run without a bra, your breasts bounce up and down 2.6 inches for every step. Wearing a sports bra reduces the bounce factor by 74 percent.

Find your self a good fitting sports bra that really offers a lot of support. If your breasts move when you jump up and down, you are not getting enough support. If you are having difficulty finding a bra that supports your chest, try wearing two.

Good news!

breast cancer breastfeed Keeping Your Breasts Healthy At Any Age

The risk of breast-cancer is still very low under the age of forty, only 5 percent of all breast-cancer patients fall into this age group.

One way to lower your odds even further, permitting you are given the chance, is to breast feed. A recent study at the University of Southern California showed that breast feeding can reduce the risks of breast-cancer later on in life, noted for women who their first child after the age of 25.

Your breasts in your 40′s

During your 30s your chest is mostly made up of breast tissue. However as you enter your
40s the percentage of fat in your breasts start to increase and because the fat is less firm, your breasts will start to sag.

Your most common concern:

breast cancer screening Keeping Your Breasts Healthy At Any Age

A common concern for women in this age group is Breast Cysts. As breasts change from their lactational state, fluid can be trapped in the ducts, causing fluid-filled cysts.

Breast cysts can be painful but are benign and will not increase your future risk of breast cancer. They can be evaluated by ultra sound and then aspirated if they are large or uncomfortable.

Best breast-cancer-screening strategy:

breast cancer mammograms Keeping Your Breasts Healthy At Any Age

Starting at age 40, “it’s crucial to get a mammogram every year, especially since the test has only about 80 percent sensitivity in younger, premenopausal women,” Smith stresses. “This way, if an early stage cancer is missed one year, it most likely will be caught the next.”

It is also important to be strict about your monthly self examinations. For women who are premenopausal you should find a center that offers digital mammography. According to a study published by the National Cancer Institute, digital mammography which takes and electronic image of your breasts is reported to pick up more cases of cancer for women who are premenopausal and/or have dense breasts.

Best breast-saving move:

breast cancer posture Keeping Your Breasts Healthy At Any Age

As you get older your back muscles weaken, this tends to make you slouch. This can give the appearance that your breasts hang lower than they actually do.

If you stand up straight and start to strengthen your upper-back and torso muscles, you will have a nice open chest and shoulder line which will make you breasts look more firm.

Try the back–shoulder blade squeeze:

breast cancer shoulder stre Keeping Your Breasts Healthy At Any Age

Stand with shoulders relaxed and arms at your sides. Hold the end of an exercise band in each hand in front of your body. Exhale as you squeeze shoulder blades together, keeping your shoulders relaxed, torso stable, and wrists flat; inhale as you return arms to starting position. Do 8–12 reps, working up to 1 minute. And increase band resistance as you get stronger.

Good news!

breast cancer vitamin d Keeping Your Breasts Healthy At Any Age

According to a Harvard study, women who are premenopausal can reduce their risks of
breast-cancer by up to 40 percent if they eat three servings of low-fat dairy and take one calcium supplement with vitamin D everyday.

Your breasts in your 50s:

As you reach your 50s you may notice some slight shrinkage. Hormonal changes are responsible for accumulating fat in your lower regions often decreasing fat in the face and breasts and increasing fat in the butt or thighs.

You will also notice increased sagging, as more breast tissue is replaced with fat. Age also take its toll on the Coopers ligaments, the fibrous semielastic bands of tissue in the breasts which start to stretch over time.

Your most common concern:

breast cancer exercise Keeping Your Breasts Healthy At Any Age

The chances of developing breast cancer rise to 1 in 38 in women over the age of 50 and now more than ever it is important to maintain a healthy weight. Several major studies have found a link between postmenopausal weight gain (especially if you tend to gain around the waist) and breast cancer.

“I recommend that every woman in this age group measure her waist, which should be less than half her height in inches,” Smedira says.

Best breast-cancer-screening strategy:

breast cancer older age Keeping Your Breasts Healthy At Any Age

By the age of 50, annual mammograms are a must, as are physical examinations by your doctor and monthly self-exams.

Best breast-saving move:

breast cancer age health Keeping Your Breasts Healthy At Any Age

Although nothing can save the breasts from sagging, it is a good idea to do a few exercises that will pump up the breast temporarily. For a special occasion or when you simply want to look your best, you can try the exercise below.

Lie on your back across a bench with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. With both hands, hold a dumbbell directly over your chest. Inhale as you lower the weight in an arc past your head, going as far as shoulder flexibility allows. Pause, then exhale as you lift the weight overhead in an arc until your hands are above your torso. Start with 8–12 reps; work up to 1 minute.

Good news!

breast cancer facts Keeping Your Breasts Healthy At Any Age

Since your breasts are fattier now, mammograms can better detect cancer: The false-negative rate drops from about 25 percent under the age of 50 to about 15 percent.

breast cancer ribbon Keeping Your Breasts Healthy At Any Age

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