Make your breast health, your best health
Being a mom means long hours and thankless nights, so consider taking a moment for the ladies who have been with you through it all. That’s right, in honor of May and Mother’s Day we are talking about breast health.
Whether producing gallons of milk or being a cozy spot for the baby to nuzzle, being a mom means hard work for your breasts. Since 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, it is important to take care of them and be proactive in addressing breast health concerns.
Here are 5 things you can do to maximize your breast health:
1. Don’t ignore changes in your breasts
Motherhood means big changes for your breasts, which can make it very challenging to know what is ‘normal’ for you now. While you are becoming familiar with your new normal, it is important to be aware of warning symptoms such as new lumps/bumps, pain that does not go away, nipple discharge, and skin or nipple changes. If you have a change that worries you, see your doctor for evaluation right away. Better safe than sorry!
2. Know your risk
While most women will have what is considered an “average risk” for developing breast cancer, certain factors such as a family history or gene mutations confer increased risk. If you are concerned that you may have factors to increase your risk of breast cancer, talk to your physician about calculating your risk score.
3. Get risk-appropriate screening
For women of average risk, the American College of Radiology recommends starting breast cancer screening at age 40 and for screening to continue on a yearly basis. Women at high risk of breast cancer may benefit from beginning a screening mammography schedule earlier or supplementing with breast MRI. Discuss with your doctor what schedule would be best for you.
4. Consider tomosynthesis for screening
Tomosynthesis or 3D mammography is a new technology that creates a 3-D picture of the breast tissue. This results in improved visualization of the breast tissue, which studies show increases the rate of cancer detection and decreases the need for additional testing after a screening mammogram.
5. Modify risk factors
While many of the risk factors for breast cancer can’t be changed, lifestyle modification can lower your risk. So do the things you’re always telling the kids to do: Eat your veggies, move your body, and get some sleep!
Meet the Author, Dr. Preisser
Dr. Rachel Preisser is a board-certified radiologist with subspecialty training in both breast imaging and sports imaging. She is a Des Moines area native and received her medical degree from the University of Iowa. She completed both her radiology residency and her sports fellowship at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and completed her breast imaging fellowship at the University of Colorado in Denver, Colorado. She and her husband have two young boys who keep them up at night and laughing during the day. Dr. Preisser enjoys cooking and entertaining, learning the latest superhero moves from her eldest son, and spending time with her family.
This is just one post from our “Healthy Living” Series sponsored by The Iowa Clinic. For other topics, choose link below: