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The best breast health begins with awareness. Regular self-exams of your breast will help you know what’s normal for you. The doctors and medical team at Carondelet Health Network have the skill and technology to screen, diagnose and care for your breasts’ health, no matter which stage of life you’re in.

Common breast conditions in your …

20s and 30s

You may experience some breast pain and/or a degree of “lumpiness,” caused by the change in your hormones. If either causes you lasting discomfort, you should speak with your doctor during your annual exam.


During this time, you’ll continue to notice changes in your breast’s firmness and elasticity. Many women will develop breast cysts, which are fluid-filled sacs within the tissue that can appear as lumps and are generally harmless. A breast ultrasound may be ordered to positively identify the nature of the lump.

  • Starting at age 40, you should schedule your baseline mammogram. Call The Breast Center at Carondelet St. Mary’s at 872-7200 to schedule your appointment
  • Starting in your 40s, you should have a mammogram annually.

Notify your doctor of any of the following breast changes:

  • A lump in or near your breast or underarm
  • Thick or firm tissue in or near your breast or underarm
  • Nipple discharge or tenderness
  • A nipple pulled back or inverted into the breast
  • Itching or skin changes, such as redness, scales, dimples, or puckers
  • A change in breast size or shape

— per the National Cancer Institute

50s, 60s and beyond

Continued hormonal changes in your breasts will decrease the fat in your breasts causing them to shrink in size. As you go through menopause, fat will replace most of the breast tissue, leading to a lack of firmness and causing some sagging. It’s during this time that breast cancer becomes the main health concern for your breasts.

  • Continue your annual mammograms.
  • Women should know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any breast change(s) promptly to their health care provider.