Published March 22, 2010
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Continuing on through the decades -- let's talk about what to expect in your 30s, when it comes to your breast health.
Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
This is the decade when a lot of women start their families and become pregnant. Pregnancy - and especially breastfeeding - can change the shape of your breast and cause some sagging. Sadly, there is nothing we can do to prevent sagging breasts. My advice is to invest in a good pushup bra! Good posture will help give the illusion of perkier breasts, but even exercises won't help this issue. Some women are more prone to sagging breasts than others - you can thank genetics for that!
During pregnancy or when breastfeeding, it is possible to develop a firm mass. You should have this looked at by a breast surgeon. Don't assume that it just has to do with your pregnancy; you should take it seriously and check it out. It could be a blocked duct during pregnancy or mastitis during breastfeeding. Mastitis is an infection that can happen if there is breakage in the nipple and it may require antibiotics. You may experience redness or pain with this condition.
Evaluating Your Risk
In your 30s, your doctor should evaluate your risk and family history for breast cancer. If you have a strong family history of breast cancer - which means your mother, sister, father or brother had it before age 50 - then you should talk to your doctor about getting checked for BRCA, which is done with genetic testing. He/she should also review your previous biopsies and any problems you've had with cysts in the past. If there are any of these issues you will have a baseline mammogram at age 35.
Fibrocystic Breast Condition
Fibrocystic breast condition is what I call a "grab-bag diagnosis." This can be anything from dense breast tissue, cysts in the breast, and benign solid nodules to swelling and breast pain.
It used to be called fibrocystic breast disease, but it is now known as a condition because there is nothing we can do to cure it as it usually runs in families. We can however, control the symptoms. If you are having chronic pain, cut out caffeine from your diet. For most women, this alone will relieve the problem. I also tell my patients to take evening primrose oil. It has been shown to be effective in 73 percent of women who use it. It comes in pill form, and you should take 1500-3000 milligrams daily. You won't see instant results, but try it for 6-8 weeks and if you don't get relief, then stop wasting your money.
STAY TUNED:Next week, we move into your 40s.
Dr. Cynara Coomer is an assistant professor of surgery specializing in breast health and breast cancer surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. She is a FOX News Health contributor providing medical expertise on a variety of topics in cancer research with a focus on women's health, breast diseases and tips for healthy breasts at any age. If you have a question email her at DrCoomer@foxnews.com