Mammography and More
At The Breast Center at Carondelet St. Mary’s, we believe that the best breast health begins with awareness. Regular self-exams of your breasts will help you know what’s normal for you. You can rest assured that the doctors and specialists at The Breast Center at St. Mary’s Hospital have the skills and technology to screen, diagnose and care for your breast health, no matter which age or stage of life you’re in.
Taking Care of Your Breasts at Every Age
A little knowledge can go a long way to ensuring your breast health. At The Breast Center, our goal is to empower you with the tools and information you need to be healthy at every stage of your life. Here are some common conditions to look for as you age.
In Your 20s and 30s
Give yourself regular breast exams so you know what’s normal for you. In your 20s and 30s you may experience some breast pain or a degree of “lumpiness,” caused by changes in your hormones. If either causes you lasting discomfort, or if you have any concerns about your breast health, you should speak with your doctor during your annual exam or schedule an appointment with one of our breast health specialists.
In Your 40s
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 a mammogram annually. Call (520) 872-7200 or go online to schedule your appointment.
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
In Your 50s 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. There are two things you can do to take care of your breasts as you age:
- Continue your annual mammograms.
- Give yourself regular self-exams. Know how your breasts normally look and feel and report any breast changes promptly to your doctor.
For more information or assistance with finding a breast health specialist, please call our Patient Navigator (520) 872-6987.