Understanding Women’s Breast Health

Sleeping
woman health
Image by Ed Yourdon
Note: this photo was published in an Aug 5, 2008 NowPublic blog entitled "Waiting for iPhone 3g." It was also published in a Mar 25, 2010 Wikimedia Commons blog with the title "File:Sleeping-1-dot-jpg." It was also published in a Nov 8, 2008 blog titled "The Importance of Sleep to Teenagers." And it was published in a Jul 6, 2010 blog titled "Keep Dreaming, Kid: Rhode Island High School Tells Students to Sleep In." It was also published in a Sep 8, 2010 blog titled "Sleep less than 6 hours a night? Hello, diabetes…" And it was published ina Dec 21, 2010 blog titled "Not Just for Kids — the Surprising Health Issues of Midlife Women.."

The photo was also published in a Feb 7, 2011 blog titled "40代の心の危機." And it was published in a May 25, 2011 Cool iPhone images blog, with the same caption and detailed notes that I had written on this Flickr page. It was also published in a May 27, 2011 "The Daily Sleep" blog in a posting titled "Too Much Going On In Teen Life." And it was published in a Jun 29, 2011 Cool Sleep Importance Issues blog, with the same caption and detailed notes I had written on this Flickr page. It was also published in an undated (early Jul 2011) blog titled "5 Reasons Sleep Affects Your Fitness." And it was published in a Sep 16, 2011 Slate blog posting titled "Le bonheur appartient à ceux qui se lèvent tôt." It was also published in an Oct 12, 2011 blog titled "Donne e problemi notturni/1: il cervello lavora fino a tardy." And it was published in a Nov 28, 2011 blog titled "How to Perfect Your Sleep Cycle." It was also published in a Dec 15, 2011 blog titled "Dormi più di dieci ore per notte? Leggi qui."

Moving into 2012, the photo was published in an undated (late Jan 2012) blog titled "Serial dilution, or … How to Count to a Million." It was also published in a Feb 6, 2012 blog titled "t10 Reasons It’s Awesome to Be an Insomniac." And it was published in a Feb 20, 2012 "Mag for Women" blog titled "6 Signs of Sleep Deprivation." It was also published in a May 23, 2012 blog titled "Sleep Bot, la aplicación que le ayudará a tener dulcet sueños." And it was published in an undated (early Jun 2012) blog titled "効果的な予防策は?" It was also published in a Jun 15, 2012 blog titled "Dormir pouco pode aumentar consumo de comidas gordurosas, did estudo." And it was published in an undated (mid-Jun 2012) blog titled "I RIMEDI NATURALI PER LA PRESSIONE BASSA." And it was published in a Jun 14, 2012 blog titled "Dormir pouco pode aumentar consumo de comidas gordurosas, diz estudo." It was also published in a Jun 30, 2012 blog titled "Nice Healthy Gadgets photos." And it was published in a Jul 18, 2012 blog titled "How Much Sleep Do You Need To Keep Your Memory Sharp?" It was also published in an Aug 31, 2012 blog titled "Crampi allo stomaco notturni, quali sono i rimedi." And it was published in an Oct 20, 2012 blog titled "Sonno e salute, ecco 9 motivi per dormire di più." It was also published in a Nov 24, 2012 blog titled Scoperto l’antidoto all’ipersonnia, aiuterà la Bella Addormentata? And it was published in a Dec 10, 2012 blog titled "OCD and Sleep."

Moving into 2013, the photo was published in an undated (late Feb 2013) blog titled "I RIMEDI NATURALI PER LA PRESSIONE BASSA." It was also published in a Mar 5, 2013 blog titled "Gros dormeurs : le gouvernement vote le passage aux 25 heures," as well as a Mar 13, 2013 blog titled "Student health and effects of sleep deprivation: Best study habits include adequate sleep," as well as a Mar 26, 2013 blog titled "How to Help Your Teen Get a Good Night’s Sleep." And it was published in an Apr 8, 2013 blog titled "WHAT DO I DO IF I CAN’T GET ALONG WITH MY TRAVEL BUDDY?" It was also published in a May 25, 2013 blog titled "Feeling Sleep Deprived? Blame Facebook," as well as a Jul 29, 2013 blog titled "Nefarious NapStealers and the Importance of Sleep." And it was published in a Sep 5, 2013 blog titled "Should High Schools Have Later Start Times?"

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Silly me: after the iPhone 3g had been out for a full week, I thought I could stroll right into the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue & 59th Street in mid-town Manhattan, and simply buy one without any muss, fuss, bother, or delay.

But when I arrived at 11 AM, I found a line of approximately 150 people waiting outside in the broiling sun, not seeming to move forward at all; it turned out that the Apple store "concierge" folks were letting them in in groups of ten, when the previous ten had been taken care of. When I asked the woman how long she had been waiting, she said, "Four hours" — she had arrived at 7 AM, having already determined that the AT&T stores were sold out throughout New Jersey and Connecticut.

Well, I’m a gadget freak and a Mac fan, but there’s a limit to my passion for such things; four hours was just too much. So instead, I decided to take a bunch of pictures of the people who were in the line. Of course, I have no idea whethere the people queued up in front of Apple stores in other cities (or at other stores here in NYC) are similar to this group … but I’m inclined to think that they are. And if that’s true, then the demographics of this group — in terms of age, gender, nationality, ethnic groups, etc. — is particularly intriguing. I saw only one guy dressed in a corporate uniform of suit and tie; Apple may be trying to break into the "enterprise" market, but that’s not who was standing in line for all those hours in the sun…

Cancer of a woman’s breast has the negative distinction of being the highest incident rate of cancer amongst women. Therefore, it is imperative that women’s breast health incorporate the following components to reduce the risk or early detection of breast cancer. Those important components include regular mammograms, breast exams by a professional and breast exams conducted by the woman herself.

Mammograms

An important part of the women’s breast health strategy that can aid in the possible early detection of breast cancer is mammograms. Mammograms are soft tissue examinations that are performed using x-ray technology. Through mammography, films are taken of the breasts and examined by radiologists for any abnormalities. If no abnormalities are found in the exam it is labeled as negative which means that there were no abnormal findings.

Women’s breast health care suggests that women, who are between the ages of 20 and 39, should receive a mammogram every three years. Those women who are 40 years of age or older should have an annual mammogram conducted.

Professional Breast Exams

In addition to having regularly scheduled mammograms, as part of the women’s breast health care plan, women should have their breasts examined by their doctor on a regular basis. The doctor will simply conduct a physical exam of the breasts with the purpose being to detect any possible abnormal growths within the glands.

Professional breast exams should be conducted by a physician once every three years. This recommended length of time is part of the women’s breast health strategy for women who are from the ages of 20 to 39. Those women who are 40 years old and over should have this type of exam conducted yearly.

Self-Examination

Probably the most important exam conducted as part of the women’s breast health program is self exams. This type of exam puts the responsibility squarely upon the woman’s shoulders and makes her accountable for the health of her breasts.

There are many techniques that can be performed as part of the self examination of the breast. As part of your learning curve, it would be appropriate to talk with your personal physician and learn about self examination. Critical information, in women’s breast health, is knowing the different feel between possible growths and the feel of normal breast tissue.

One of the easiest methods of breast examination is by simply looking at your breasts. While standing in front of a mirror, with the upper part of your body exposed, clasp both of your hands behind your head. Women’s breast health will visually looking for any changes in the shape or dimensions of the breasts. In addition, the self examining woman should check for any indentations of the skin or inverted nipples. Another indication to watch out for is any crusting or rashes of the breast and/or nipples.

One other self exam that can be conducted as part of a women’s breast health effort is the actual feeling of the breasts. Two specific methods that can be utilized are the circular method and the grid method.

The circular method utilizes the hand that is opposite of the breast that is to be examined. The starting point for this exam is at the very top of the breast being examined. Using the first three fingers of your hand press gently and begin to move the fingers in a circular motion around your breast. This process should examine the entire top half of the breast and work towards the nipple. Using this technique all portions of the breast should be examined. The second breast should be examined in the same manner.

The technique of the grid method, as part of the women’s breast health examination, has its starting point near the breast bone. Utilizing your fingertips examine the entire area of the breast by moving the fingers from the top part of the breast downward. The exam will be completed once the entire breast has been examined using this method.

Additional Instructions

There are certain times of the month that breast examinations should not be conducted. Those times are two to three days following your menstruation cycle. Other areas of examination, as part of the women’s breast health care, should include the upper portion of your breast near the armpit. In addition, it is important to feel the armpit area as well to detect any swelling of the lymph nodes.

One additional area to check for lymph node swelling is the area situated just above the collarbone or clavicle. If you detect any abnormalities or areas of concern it is important that you see your attending physician immediately.

Eddie Lamb publishes an abundance of information on a range of topical subjects. This article Understanding Women’s Breast Health, is just one of a host of useful articles about Womens Health listed on our site map at Womens Health Prognosis.

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