[caption id="attachment_2823" align="alignleft" width="109" caption="Dr. Cynara Coomer"][/caption]
In your 40s, your breasts will continue to change. Here are just a few things you should be aware of in this decade.
Your First Mammogram
This is the decade when you will start getting annual mammograms, unless you have a family history and need to start sooner. Mammogram still remains the best way to detect breast cancer early, so it is very important that you keep up with this test annually. The best time to schedule a mammogram is one week after your period. To prepare for your annual mammogram the American Cancer Society recommends that you do not wear deodorant because it can appear on the X-ray film as a calcium spot.
When you arrive for your exam you will be asked to remove your clothing above the waist and your jewelry. You'll be asked about family and personal history of breast cancer and about your general health. The mammogram technician will examine your breasts for abnormalities or masses, then the tech will position your breasts on a special cassette and compress it with a plastic paddle. This could be painful, so if it is, let the tech know and he/she can adjust the compression. It's important to know that compressing the breast is important to getting a good reading. The tech will take several images of your breasts in different positions, and if you have large breasts, you might require a few more. The entire process will take about a half hour, but if you have implants, it could take an hour. A radiologist will read your mammography results and if there are any abnormalities he/she will go over them with you.
In your 40s, gravity will continue its cruel work and take a toll on your aging breasts. As I said before, there isn't much you can do for sagging breasts except investing in a good pushup bra or getting a surgical procedure. Women in this age group often opt to get a mastopexy which is basically a breast lift. If you decide to go this route make sure you talk to a board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in breast surgeries. I would also talk to patients who have had the same procedure, so you will know what type of results you can expect.
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