Do You Know Your Breasts?
Many women visiting Safe Breast Imaging confess they don't have an understanding of their breasts. Some don't touch their breasts, others know they are lumpy but have no idea what is normal or not. Most women express their fear about the possibility of being diagnosed with breast cancer.
The structure of the female breast is primarily made up of fat and connective tissue. It also contains milk ducts, blood vessels, lymph nodes, and structures known as lobes and lobules. Each breast has 12 to 20 sections (lobules) that branch out from the nipple. The lobules are linked by a network of thin tubes (ducts).
Spaces around the lobules and ducts are filled with fatty tissue, ligaments and connective tissue (stromata).
The amount of fat in your breasts largely determines their size. Female breast tissue is also sensitive to cyclic changes in hormone levels. Younger women may have denser and less fatty breast tissue than do older women who've gone through menopause.
Muscles lie underneath the breasts, not within, separating them from your ribs.
Oxygen and nutrients travel to breast tissue through the blood in your arteries and capillaries " thin, fragile blood vessels.
The lymphatic system is a network of blood vessels, lymph nodes and lymph ducts that helps fight infection. Lymph nodes " found under the armpit, above the collarbone, behind the breastbone and in other parts of the body " trap harmful substances that may be in the lymphatic system and safely drain them from the body.
How Breast Tissue Normally Feels
Breasts contain tissues of varying consistency. Glandular tissue " primarily felt in the upper, outer part of the breast " usually feels firm and slightly rope-like, bumpy or lumpy (nodular). Surrounding fat tissue " often felt in the inner and lower parts of the breast " is soft. You may find that breast-related symptoms, such as tenderness or lumpiness, differ over the course of your menstrual cycle. Breast tissue also changes as you age, typically becoming more fatty and less dense over time.
Fibrocystic breasts are composed of tissue that feels ropy, lumpy or bumpy in texture. Doctors call this "nodular" or "glandular" breast tissue. When examined under a microscope, fibrocystic breast tissue includes distinct components such as:
A prominence of scar-like fibrous tissue (fibrosis)
Overgrowth of cells (hyperplasia) lining the milk ducts or milk-producing tissues (lobules) of the breast
Enlarged breast lobules (adenosis)
Fibrocystic tissue is found in most women at some stage.
Breast pain is a common complaint among women. You might describe your breast pain as chronic tenderness, sharp burning or tightness in your breast tissue. The pain may be constant or it may occur only occasionally. It may be due to
cyclical reproductive hormones – linked to menstrual cycle
fatty acid imbalance – can be helped with plant-based oils like evening primrose oil
medication use – eg oral contraceptives, hormone treatment (natural and synthetic), antidepressants
anatomical features – cysts, trauma, referred pain from outside the breast
Take Action and Reduce Your Risk
Make some lifestyle changes and rethink your everyday choices. The development of breast cancer is strongly influenced by the environment, our lifestyle and our reproductive choices. Exposure to synthetic chemicals can affect the development and daily operations of our breast cells, and may increase our risk of breast cancer. Remember, most breast issues do not result in cancer.
Live Green and Decrease Risk
Check your breasts regularly
Reduce prescription hormones (natural and synthetic)
Maintain a healthy weight
Exercise and get moving
Increase Vitamin D intake
Reduce stress – reduce cortisol
Increase sleep – heal the wear and tear
Reduce synthetic chemicals – they are everywhere!
Love Your Breasts today
Get to know your breasts. Understand them. Know what is normal for you. Monitor your breast health and aim to improve it. Become empowered into action.
Women, you currently have choices of how you check your breasts.
A mammogram and ultrasound can help you understand the anatomy of your breasts.
MEM imaging with Safe Breast Imaging can also help you gain an understanding of the functioning and behaviour of your breasts. This includes feelings of tenderness, lumpiness, early behavioural changes.
More information allows you to make an informed decision about how best to care for your breasts.
Book your appointment now on 1300 310 820.