Breast Health & Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is a leading cause of death from cancer in women. If it is found and treated early, most women can be cured. This is why routine breast self-exams, mammography, and checkups by your health care provider are crucial.
Think of your breasts as, quite literally, living, changing organisms.
- Breasts respond to changes in levels of estrogen and progesterone during your menstrual cycle, which cause a change in the amount of fluid in them. This may make fibrous areas in the breasts more painful.
- Breasts also change during pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause.
- Your breasts may change if you use hormonal contraception, such as birth control pills, if you use hormone therapy (HT), or if you have breast implants.
Most women who have fibrocystic changes, cysts, or fibroadenomas, do not have a greater chance of getting breast cancer. However, you should always inform your healthcare provider of any symptom of breast problems right away.
BRCA1 and BRCA2: Genes that increase your risk of breast cancer and certain other types of cancer.
Estrogen: A female hormone, produced in the ovaries, that stimulates the growth of the lining of the uterus.
Fibrocystic Changes: Formation of benign cysts and lumps of various sizes in the breast.
Mammography: A procedure in which X-rays of the breast are used to detect breast cancer.
Progesterone: A female hormone that is produced in the ovaries and prepares the lining of the uterus for pregnancy.
Ultrasonography: A procedure in which sound waves are used to examine internal structures. During pregnancy, it can be used to examine the fetus.