Caring for your breasts is important at any age. Learn about proper self-examination techniques and changes that naturally occur in your breasts. If you’re over the age of 40 or have risk factors, such as a family history of breast cancer, discuss an appropriate screening with your doctor. Take charge of your breast health.
What are some common breast concerns?
- Mastitis. A breast tissue infection that typically occurs in breastfeeding women. It results in breast pain, swelling, warmth, and redness. Caused by a blocked milk duct or bacteria entering your breast, it can usually be treated with antibiotics.
- Back pain associated with large breasts. Large breasts are linked to a number of physical problems including back aches, neck pain, and numbness in your fingers and hands. Alleviate symptoms with physical therapy, or choose to have breast reduction surgery to ease discomfort or to achieve a breast size proportionate to your body.
- Duct ectasia. Occurs when a milk duct beneath your nipple becomes wider, causing the duct walls to thicken and the duct to fill with fluid. It’s common for women over 50 and usually improves without treatment.
What about breast cancer? Some risk factors for breast cancer include increasing age, personal or family history, inherited genes, and obesity. If breast cancer runs in your family, consider genetic testing to learn whether or not you have an abnormal gene linked to higher breast cancer risk.
Early detection is essential.
What is a breast self-exam and why should you do it? A breast self-exam is a way to check your breasts for changes or abnormalities (such as lumps or thickenings). It involves looking at and feeling each breast. Report any unusual changes to your doctor immediately. Self-exams are important because early breast cancer detection greatly increases your chances of surviving this disease.
What types of breast screenings are available? Screening options you can get include:
Where can you get a breast cancer screening? Screening programs are held at various locations and include a clinical breast exam, a screening mammogram, and education about breast health.
Access state-of-the-art breast imaging technology at ProMedica Breast Care on the campus of ProMedica Toledo Hospital, the region's top imaging facility devoted exclusively to breast health. We'll coordinate follow-up care, if needed.
What if you don’t have insurance? If you don’t have insurance, or your insurance doesn’t cover preventive screenings, you may qualify for free screening mammograms through our grant from the Northwest Ohio Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Ask your gynecologist how to request a free screening.