Canadian Living - - Health & Fitness / Body Talk -

Dr. Ruth Heisey, chief of fam­ily medicine at Toronto’s Women’s Col­lege Hos­pi­tal, says, “It’s im­por­tant to know your breasts so you can eas­ily de­tect changes. Ex­am­ine your breasts ev­ery two to three months dur­ing show­er­ing or bathing, be­ing sure to cover all of the tis­sue, in­clud­ing up to the col­lar­bone and into the armpit, us­ing the flat part of your fin­gers—not your fin­ger­tips, which are too sen­si­tive. You’re feel­ing for lumps or bumps in the breast or armpit or any per­sis­tent thick­en­ings or full­ness present on one side only. Look in the mir­ror while dry­ing off; check for in­den­ta­tions, sig­nif­i­cant changes in the shape of the breast, any one-sided nip­ple dis­charge that oc­curs with­out squeez­ing, or crust­ing or thick­en­ing of the nip­ple and are­ola. Avoid ex­am­in­ing your breasts around the time of your pe­riod, when they tend to feel fuller and lumpier. If you no­tice any changes, visit your health-care provider and dis­cuss whether imag­ing should be per­formed. Some women with rel­a­tives with breast and/or ovar­ian cancer may be at a sub­stan­tially higher risk for both can­cers and should con­sider ge­netic test­ing and high-risk screen­ings (mam­mo­gram and MRI) and, for those who are found to carry a ge­netic mu­ta­tion, pos­si­bly pre­ven­tive surg­eries.

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