Common Breast Problems ~ Health Guide

Health Guide

Health Record provides reliable answers to important health questions. Use this site to learn more about detecting, preventing, and treating a variety of medical conditions.

Common Breast Problems

Written by Mystic on Monday, August 04, 2008

We hope that this information sheet will answer some of the questions you may have about normal breast changes, about some of the problems that can occur and what you can do about them.

Your Breasts

Your breasts are glandular organs designed to produce milk after pregnancy. Your breast tissue extends almost to the collar bone at the top and to the armpit at the side. Breast tissue is made up of a large number of special glands which produce milk after childbirth.

The milk glands consist of milk sacs where milk is made, and ducts which take the milk to the nipple. These milk glands are arranged in 15-20 lobes each containing many milk producing glands (also called lobules). The glands are surrounded by connective tissue (or packing tissue) which helps to give your breast its structure and shape.

Your breasts also contain blood vessels, lymph glands and nerves. The lymph glands are connected by a system of lymph ducts to other lymph glands in your armpit. These lymph glands and ducts are part of the lymph system which helps your body to fight infection.

Your breasts will go through many changes during your life. Most of these changes are quite normal and are related to the levels of reproductive hormones in your body. These hormone levels alter during your periods, pregnancies and menopause (change of life), and as you age.

Some women experience other changes in their breasts. These may include unusual pain and/or swelling, a lump or general 'lumpiness', a 'pulling-in' of the nipple, or discharge from the nipple. Although most of these changes are benign (not cancerous), they can make us feel very anxious and concerned. It's very important that these changes are thoroughly checked by a doctor, just to be sure.

What should I know?

Breasts come in all shapes and sizes and don't stay the same throughout life. Your monthly period, pregnancy, age and weight changes may all alter the shape, size and feel of your breasts.

Although it is quite common for women to experience breast changes, the majority of these changes are not due to breast cancer.

What should I look for?

You should note any changes to your breasts. These may be an alteration in the natural shape or feel of the breast skin. Look for any changes in size or colour or the appearance of any thickened area, dimpling or lump in your breast or underarm.
Other areas to check are your nipples. Make sure they have not changed or have any associated rash, soreness or discharge.
Most changes and lumps are not cancer but you should talk to your doctor as soon as possible about any differences. We know that some women take time to report change but we also know that the earlier detected cancers are more likely to be successfully treated.

Related Posts by Categories

Widget by Hoctro | Jack Book