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Breast Cancer Awareness (Yuma Sun) - 2020-10-01

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Changes in the Breast

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

By Green Shoot Media

If you’re concerned, of course call the doctor, but there’s probably not a reason to panic. PROBABLY NOT ANYTHING TO WORRY ABOUT Many changes in the breast are because of fluctuating hormones, such as when a woman is about to start her menstrual cycle or when she’s pregnant. Here are some times you may notice a difference in your breasts that’s not worrisome. • Before or during your cycle. Your breasts may feel swollen or tender, and that’s normal. You may even feel a lump because of extra fluid in your breast. You should always call a doctor if you feel a lump, but the doctor may schedule a return visit when you’re not on your cycle to check the breast. • During pregnancy. Your body undergoes a lot of changes during pregnancy, and one of them may be larger and more painful breasts. They may even feel lumpy as the glands that produce milk gear up for breastfeeding. While breastfeeding, you may also get a painful condition called mastitis when a milk duct becomes blocked. Mastitis causes the affected breast to become warm and feel lumpy and painful. You can get medications from your doctor to help. • Before and after menopause. Your hormone levels are changing, and that can make your breasts feel tender and lumpy. As your levels drop off after menopause, these conditions usually stop. If you’re taking hormones, such as menopausal hormone therapy or birth control. These hormones may cause your breasts to become more dense, making a mammogram more difficult to read. Let your provider know about these and all other medications you take. SYMPTOMS TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT If you feel any change in your breast that you’re worried about, even if it’s explained by one of the above reasons, call your doctor and have it checked out. Some symptoms that should raise a red flag are: • A lump or firm feeling in your breast or under your arm. It could be a hormonal change, but it could be something more nefarious. Do regular self-exams so that you know what your breasts feel like but remember, they’re no substitute for a mammogram. • Nipple changes or discharge. This discharge can be any of several colors or textures. It could be something as simple as an infection of the side effect of medications, but it should always be checked out. • Itchy, red, dimpled or puckered skin. Again, this could just be minor irritation, but it could be something worse. Call the doctor.

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