Knowing What to Look for in Breast Changes
Most women experience breast changes during their lifetime. Some of these changes are common and caused by hormones or the aging process. Breast may feel lumpy, tender, swollen before or during menstrual periods, while breastfeeding, during pregnancy or before menopause. Other changes may occur when taking hormone therapy or during menopause. So, what should women look for and when should they consult a healthcare provider? The answer is…always consult your healthcare provider when experiencing any breast changes, especially when first noticing the change. Do not wait until your next mammogram. No one knows your body better than you do. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), “women should know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any breast change promptly to their healthcare provider”. The ACS also recommends that women should start Breast Self Exams in their 20s.
Although, noticing breast changes at certain periods of the month may be normal for some women, there are certain signs that should never be ignored.
- Lump (mass)
- Firmness of breast, around breast or arm
- Size or shape of the breast
- Nipple discharge
- Nipple changes
- Skin changes such as dimples, redness, swelling, scaling, itching
Talking to your healthcare provider can be intimidating. When speaking to your healthcare provider, remember to write out your questions ahead of time, so you do not forget them. Also, write down the answers given to you making sure you understand and ask questions. Some topics of conversation may also include:
- Breast changes or concerns
- When was it first noticed
- Any new changes after initial finding
- Personal medical history
- Copies of last mammogram and date
- Last menstrual period and date
- Medicines and supplements
- Breast implants
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Family medical history
To find a physician near you and for a free Breast Self Exam shower card, call Consult-A-Nurse Physician Referral Service at 1-800-447-8206.
Don’t miss out on the next community-wide 2nd Annual Hunt for Pink October coming up in October hosted by the Breast Care Center of Osceola Regional Medical Center. Visit www.OsceolaRegional.com for more information.