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Benign Breast Conditions
It is vital that women understand and are familiar with the normal physiology of their breasts. This aids women in detecting any changes or breast abnormalities that are present or that may occur. The earlier breast abnormalities are discovered, the better the ability to discern between healthy breasts and abnormal breasts. Early discovery of breast cancerous tumors greatly increases the odds of survival. All women should engage in monthly breast exams at all times, even when pregnant.
Research suggests that 90% of women have benign (non-cancerous) breast conditions. Once a women has identified a benign breast condition, she can learn about it and understand it while performing breast examinations.
The breast is composed of:
- milk glands (lobules)
- ducts (function to transport milk from the milk glands to the nipple)
- areola (pink or brown pigmented area that surrounds the nipple)
- connective tissue that surrounds the milk glands and ducts
The breast is a mass of fatty, glandular and fibrous tissues that rest over the pectoral muscles of the chest wall. They are attached to the chest wall by fibrous strands. A layer of fatty tissue surrounds the breast glands and exists throughout the breast. It is the fatty tissue of the breast that gives it a soft consistency.
The glandular tissues of the breast are where the milk glands and ducts exist. Moving toward the nipple, each duct widens to form a sac called an ampulla. When lactating, the bulbs on the ends of the milk glands produce milk, where it can then be moved through the ducts to the nipple. The best way to keep breasts healthy is to maintain a balanced and nutritious diet that is low in fat and get regular physical exercise. Monthly self breast examinations are critical for the early detection of breast abnormalities.
Imaginis is an outstanding website filled with information and resources about all aspects of breast health. Learn everything you need to know about breast self exams.
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