Breast health is an important part of a woman’s overall well-being. As early as your 20s, it’s important to self-check at home and get clinical breast exams yearly. A good number of women experience breast changes at some time. Your age, hormone levels and medicines you take may cause bumps, lumps or discharges.
Although many women fear cancer, most breast problems are not cancer.
Some common causes of breast changes are:
Information on Breast Lumps
Breast cancer affects one in eight women during their lives. Breast cancer kills more women in the United States than any cancer except lung cancer. No one knows why some women get breast cancer, but there are a number of risk factors. Risks that you cannot change include
Age – the chance of getting breast cancer rises as a woman gets older
Genes – there are two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, that greatly increase the risk. Women who have family members with breast or ovarian cancer may wish to be tested.
Personal factors – beginning periods before age 12 or going through menopause after age 55
Other risks include being overweight, using hormone replacement therapy, taking birth control pills, drinking alcohol, not having children or having your first child after age 35 or having dense breasts.
Symptoms of breast cancer may include a lump in the breast, a change in size or shape of the breast or discharge from a nipple. Breast self-exam and mammography can help find breast cancer early when it is most treatable. Treatment may consist of radiation, lumpectomy, mastectomy, chemotherapy and hormone therapy.
Your doctor can help you decide when and how often to get routine screening mammograms, which may depend on your age or family history of breast cancer or other conditions