Breast health awareness is an important aspect of staying healthy. Breast cancer is now becoming more popular and is affecting a high percentage of women across the globe. Benign breast changes such as cysts or intraductal papillomas can also affect the breasts (wart-like growths near the nipples).
Most women experience some sort of breast change, and it’s critical to understand the normal breasts, keep an eye out for alterations, and call a healthcare practitioner if you notice any. 
Understand Your Breasts
As a woman does self-exams regularly, she will become acquainted with her breasts’ size, shape, and texture. As a result, they can detect any changes in their breasts, such as discharge, rashes, or lumps. If a woman notices a lump or something unusual, she should contact her doctor to make an appointment.
The most important thing to remember is not to panic. Non-cancerous breast lumps can have a variety of origins. But consulting your doctor is the best approach to ruling out potential problems.
Breast health begins with understanding what is normal for the body and when to consult a doctor. These are five important breast health facts: [1, 2]
1. An earlier diagnosis results in a better prognosis
Breast cancer warning symptoms differ from woman to woman. Cancer in females is usually asymptomatic and emerges on a mammogram before a lump is felt. But there are additional red signs. Look for skin changes, including redness, skin thickness, and soreness around the nipple. Another warning sign is nipple discharge. Most breast cancers are not painful, and even the most uncomfortable breast tumours are not painful.
Check for it: Examine your breasts in the mirror for any shape, size, or symmetry changes to initiate a self-exam. Next, massage your breast tissue with your hands, feeling for any lumps or abnormalities. Notify your physician if you observe anything unusual.
When breast cancer is found early, it has a far better prognosis. Breast cancer is being detected earlier than ever, thanks to increased awareness and more comprehensive tests and screenings. As a result, most breast cancer patients have an excellent prognosis. The most important first step is to evaluate the risk status.
This entails consulting with a doctor to assess the danger. It could also entail genetic testing (if the patient is OK with it) and a comprehensive family history evaluation. Doctors can then develop a customised screening regimen based on a person’s risk level and age. [1, 2]
2. Screenings for persons at high risk should begin much earlier
Mammograms help save lives. Most breast cancers are discovered at an early stage because of mammography screening. Nonetheless, considerable debate has been concerning the utility of undertaking a routine self-breast inspection. Self-breast exams help women become familiar with their breasts, making detecting lumps or other changes easier.
Nonetheless, randomised controlled trials have discovered that mammograms boost survival. Professional associations differ in their recommendations for when to begin getting mammograms, how frequently to have them, and when to stop having them, but all agree on having mammograms every two years from the age of 50 to 74. [2, 3]
Individuals at high risk of breast cancer should be tested annually with a breast MRI and mammography, often beginning at 30. This includes those who:
- Have a family history of breast cancer
- Do you have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation? (through a genetic test)
- Have a first-degree relative (parent, sibling, or child) who has a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation and has not had genetic testing.
- They had chest radiation therapy between the ages of 10 and 30.
- Have Li-Fraumeni Syndrome, Cowden Syndrome, Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba Syndrome, or first-degree relatives who do. [1, 2]
3. Breast cancer does not only affect women who are born female
Many male patients suffer from breast illnesses, even though the risk is higher in women. Because it is widely seen as a “female cancer,” men’s diagnosis and treatment are typically delayed. As a result, men’s dangers mustn’t be overlooked. 
4. Breastfeeding lowers risk of breast cancer
Studies have shown that women who breastfeed their babies for at least one year have a reduced risk of developing breast cancer compared to those who do not breastfeed. Women with small breasts are just as likely as women with larger breasts to develop breast cancer. 
5. A woman can reduce her chances of developing breast cancer.
Frequent tests at the right risk level are the most effective strategy to lower the risk of breast cancer.
Can I reduce my breast cancer risk?
There is no certain method for preventing breast cancer. However, there are measures you can take to reduce your risk. However, other risk factors are modifiable and may reduce your risk.
There are additional steps that may reduce the risk of acquiring breast cancer for women who are known to be at a more elevated risk.
Achieve and maintain a healthy weight: Both increased body weight and adult weight gain are associated with a raised risk of developing breast cancer after menopause. The American Cancer Society recommends maintaining a healthy weight throughout life and avoiding weight gain by maintaining a healthy balance between food intake and physical activity.
Numerous studies have shown that moderate to vigorous physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer, so it is essential to engage in regular physical activity. The American Cancer Society recommends that adults must engage in at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week, preferably spread throughout the week. The ideal would be reaching or exceeding the maximum time limit of 300 minutes.
Stop alcohol consumption: Alcohol raises the risk of developing breast cancer. Even moderate alcohol consumption has been linked to an increased risk. It is best not to consume any alcohol. Women who drink should not consume more than one alcoholic beverage per day. [1, 2, 3]
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