Dr. Rachel: Breast Health Awareness

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Dr. Rachel is explaining how to make sure we are healthy.

Dr. Rachel says, "most of the focus on breast health is related to breast cancer, but breast cancer awareness begins with breast health awareness. Breast health awareness should begin when a woman turns 20."

The female breast is a very dynamic organ that changes throughout a female`s life. Some babies are born with small breast buds due to the estrogen stimulation from their mom. During puberty, the breasts begin to grow rapidly. The breasts of a woman having who have gone through puberty will consist of fibrous and fatty tissue along with dense glandular tissue that contains the milk-producing glands for breastfeeding, so the breasts are fuller and more firm. As we age, our breasts become smaller and soft because we lose some of the milk producing glands.

With all the changes is it vital that women always have a well-fitted bra to support their breasts. Bra size should change throughout a woman's life. When breasts are not supported, the weight of the breasts puts tension on the ligaments that keep them perky and supported. This leads to saggy and sometimes painful breasts.

Breastfeeding is vital for breast health. Not only is it fabulous for your health and the health of the baby, it also decreases the risk of getting breast cancer.

Dr. Rachel tells us to remember that you or your partner should do a monthly breast exam starting at the age of 20.