Today we are excited to have Jennifer Krebs, Certified Nurse Midwife from Valley OB with us! I am so happy to have her as my primary care provider. I just had my annual exam (see photos) and she took her time answering all of my questions. I asked her if she would be a guest contributor today, sharing her tips for breast health. Did you know that women who breastfeed (especially for a duration of a year or more) have a lower incidence of breast cancer? (1) Many women have heard of the benefits of breastfeeding to their infant, but aren’t aware there are long-term health benefits to the breastfeeding mother as well! Keep reading for more ways to stay on top of your breast health.
Know your family history. Has anyone in your family had breast cancer? Ovarian cancer? Uterine cancer? Think of Aunts, Cousins, Mothers, grandmothers and sisters. And very importantly…their ages at diagnosis. Having family members with these pre-menopausal cancers increase your chances of genetically heritable mutations that increase your risk of developing these cancers. Already having this information at an office visit helps us screen women effectively.
Pay attention and look in the mirror. When you get out of the shower just stand and take a look. Are your breasts somewhat symmetrical? Is there dimpling? Areas of redness? Nipples approximately the same size? Drainage or leakage when not breastfeeding? Abnormal masses? The difficulty with breasts is that they are lumpy and bumpy. You will notice abnormal masses if you know what normal feels like. They say that women doing self breast exams doesn’t improve outcomes so many providers have stopped recommending them. However, most problematic masses are found by women themselves so it is still important.
Go to your routine health maintenance exams. As women and mothers, we tend to be very busy and don’t have time to think about regular maintenance. I frequently see women only when they have problems or need refills on birth control or get pregnant. It’s important to STAY healthy and keep up on preventative health measures and hopefully avoid problems in the future. Don’t wait until you have a problem. Be seen for routine physicals. Get your blood pressure checked. Have your clinical breast exam. Get routine health maintenance labs. Discuss family history. Staying healthy helps you be more effective in your day-to-day life.
Thanks Jen! I know I appreciated these tips about breast health. Along with breastfeeding, knowing your family history, being aware of your body and going to your healthcare provider regularly are all great ways to stay involved in your breast health. You can book an appt with Jen in her American Fork or Lehi locations by calling 801.756.1577
Thanks for stopping by,
Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC
(1) Breast cancer and breastfeeding: collaborative reanalysis of individual date from 47 epidemiological studies in 30 countries, including 50,302 women with breast cancer and 96,973 women without the disease. The Lancet, volumet 360, Issue 9328, 187-195. Retrieved from: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(02)09454-0/abstract?cc=y=