The Importance of Breast Care
It is important to take care of your breasts so that you can prevent diseases as well as the signs of ageing. Breast care is essential for every woman regardless of how young or old she is.
Exercising will not increase the size of your breasts. However exercise can shape your breasts and improve circulation. Regular push-ups for fifteen minutes every day will make your breasts firmer. Dumbbells strengthen the chest muscles and in turn, the breasts.
Massaging your breasts helps blood circulation. You will also notice a change in the quality of the skin. Start by holding your breasts in your hands and gently press while moving upwards. Use your fingers and massage clockwise and then anti-clockwise.
Perform self-examinations at home. Breast cancer is no longer a post-menopause problem. A regular exam will warn you before things become serious. If you notice lumps when you are massaging yourself, go to a doctor. It could be a tumour. If your breasts or nipples are very tender, you could have an infection.
What can I do to have healthy breasts?
You can make healthy choices to improve your general health that will also benefit your breasts. These include:
- being active and/or exercising regularly;
- eating a variety of low-fat, high-fibre and whole grain foods;
- eating lots of dark green, orange and red vegetables and fruits daily;
- washing your fruits and vegetables, or buying organic produce to reduce your exposure to potentially toxic chemicals;
- eating foods daily that are high in phytoestrogens (plant estrogens or isoflavones) such as soy, lentils and grains–these foods have been linked in some studies to breast cancer prevention;
- not smoking;
- limiting the amount of alcohol you drink; and
- limiting the caffeine you drink or eat – coffee, tea, chocolate, cola and some other soft drinks may contain relatively high amounts of caffeine and sugar.
In addition to these lifestyle choices, you may choose to:
- Get to know what your breasts feel like so that you’ll know what is normal for you, and will recognize any changes that happen.
- If you wear bras, wear comfortable loose-fitting bras and do not wear them to bed.
If I have a lump or other changes in my breast, should I see my doctor?
Some women are alarmed when they feel lumps or have pain in their breasts. While you should check with your health care provider when you find a lump or have pain, this does not necessarily mean that you have a disease. Most breast lumps are not cancerous, especially in women under 40. Many things, including hormonal changes, can cause breast pain. In fact, even when cancerous lumps are found through breast cancer screening, it’s possible that they never would have caused problems even if untreated because they sometimes grow slowly. The important thing is to try not to panic and let someone you care about know what you are going through.
Many women have breast lumpiness or fibrocystic breasts. This can be caused by cysts (tissue sacs filled with liquid) and scarring of breast tissue. There is no known link between this and breast cancer.
However, it is important to see your health care provider if you notice any of the following changes in your breasts:
- a lump or thickening;
- unusual increase in the size of one breast;
- discharge from your nipples staining your bra, clothes or bedclothes; and
- skin changes, including any changes to a nipple.