“As you get older, it’s natural for your breasts to lose their firmness, change shape, shrink in size and become more prone to certain abnormal lumps”.1

Umbrella
What may the Breast Awareness Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Breast Awareness
  • Breast Cancer Awareness
  • Breast Health
  • Breast Self-Exam
  • Breast Self-Examination

Breast Awareness

What is a breast awareness?

DotS the definition of breast awareness may vary. In Breast Cancer: Breast Cancer Awareness Cancer Australia’s definition is:

“Breast awareness is important for women of all ages, even if you’re having regular mammograms.

You don’t need to be an expert or use a special technique to check your breasts. Take the time to get to know the normal look and feel of your breasts as part of everyday activities like showering, dressing, putting on body lotion or simply looking in the mirror. Knowing what is normal for you will help you to detect any new breast or nipple changes”.2

Breast Self-Exam

What is a breast self-exam?

DotS the definition of a breast self-exam may vary. In Breast Self-Exam for Breast Awareness: About – Overview the (United States) Mayo Clinic’s elaborate on:

“A breast self-exam for breast awareness is an inspection of your breasts that you do on your own. To help increase your breast awareness, you use your eyes and hands to determine if there are any changes to the look and feel of your breasts”.3

Aging

Is there an association between aging and breast changes?

In Aging Changes In the Breast the (United States) MedlinePlus elaborate on:

“With age, a woman’s breasts lose fat, tissue, and mammary glands. Many of these changes are due to the decrease in the body’s production of estrogen that occurs at menopause. Without estrogen, the gland tissue shrinks, making the breasts smaller and less full. The connective tissue that supports the breasts becomes less elastic, so the breasts sag.

Changes also occur in the nipple. The area surrounding the nipple (the areola) becomes smaller and may nearly disappear. The nipple may also turn in slightly”.4

In Healthy Body: Breast Changes In Older Women the (United Kingdom) NHS (National Health Service) elaborate on:

“As you get older, it’s natural for your breasts to lose their firmness, change shape, shrink in size and become more prone to certain abnormal lumps.

In most cases, breast lumps are harmless, but whatever your age, it’s important that you report any new lumps to your doctor”.5

Menopause

Is there an association between menopause and breast changes?

On page one in Breast Health: Normal Breast Changes During Life the (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health (JH) elaborate on:

Breast Awareness

“In the years close to menopause, changes in hormone levels can increase breast pain, and the fibrous tissue is replaced by fatty tissue. It is quite common for breasts to be lumpy or have benign (non-cancerous) nodules”.6

In Aging Changes In the Breast the MedlinePlus note:

“Lumps are common around the time of menopause. These are often noncancerous cysts. However, if you notice a lump, make an appointment with your health care provider, because breast cancer risk increases with age. Women should be aware of the benefits and limitations of breast self-exams. These exams do not always pick up early stages of breast cancer. Women should talk to their providers about mammograms”.7

Menopausal Hormone Therapy

Is there an association between menopausal hormone therapy and dense breasts?

In Breast Changes and Conditions: Breast Changes During Your Lifetime That Are Not Cancer the (United States) National Cancer Institute clarify:

  • “If you are taking hormones (such as menopausal hormone therapy, birth control pills, or injections) your breasts may become more dense. This can make a mammogram harder to interpret. Be sure to let your health care provider know if you are taking hormones”.8

Health Care Provider

What are changes to look for?

In Breast Cancer: Breast Cancer Awareness – Breast Awareness Cancer Australia explain:

“Breast changes to look for include:

  • A new lump or lumpiness, especially if it’s only in one breast
  • A change in the size or shape of the breast
  • A change to the nipple, such as crusting, ulcer, redness or inversion
  • A nipple discharge that occurs without squeezing
  • A change in the skin of the breast such as redness or dimpling
  • An unusual pain that doesn’t go away.

Nine out of ten breast changes aren’t due to cancer, but it’s important to see a doctor to be sure. If you find a breast change that is unusual for you, see your GP without delay”.9

Health Topics A-Z

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Links

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Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted at:

Sources

  1. Healthy Body: Breast Changes In Older Women. Page Last Reviewed: 03 July 2018. NHS (National Health Service) https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/breast-changes-in-older-women/ Accessed: 21 September 2020
  2. Breast Cancer: Breast Cancer Awareness – Breast Awareness. Updated: 05 August 2020. Cancer Australia https://breast-cancer.canceraustralia.gov.au/awareness Accessed: 21 September 2020
  3. Breast Self-Exam for Breast Awareness: About – Overview. 09 June 2020. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/breast-exam/basics/definition/PRC-20020418 Accessed: 21 September 2020
  4. Aging Changes In the Breast. Review Date: 12 July 2018. Page Last Updated: 16 September 2020. MedlinePlus https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003999.htm Accessed: 21 September 2020
  5. Healthy Body: Breast Changes In Older Women. Page Last Reviewed: 03 July 2018. NHS (National Health Service) https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/breast-changes-in-older-women/ Accessed: 21 September 2020
  6. Breast Health: Normal Breast Changes During Life. Updated October 2018:1. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/contents/documents/Resources/Fact_sheets/Breast_health.pdf Accessed: 21 September 2020
  7. Aging Changes In the Breast. Review Date: 12 July 2018. Page Last Updated: 16 September 2020. MedlinePlus https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003999.htm Accessed: 21 September 2020
  8. Breast Changes and Conditions: Breast Changes During Your Lifetime That Are Not Cancer. Updated: 18 October 2018. National Cancer Institute https://www.cancer.gov/types/breast/breast-changes Accessed: 21 September 2020
  9. Breast Cancer: Breast Cancer Awareness – Breast Awareness. Updated: 05 August 2020. Cancer Australia https://breast-cancer.canceraustralia.gov.au/awareness Accessed: 21 September 2020

Topic Last Updated: 28 October 2020 – Topic Last Reviewed: 21 September 2020
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