Do you know whether your boobs are healthy? Dr Cassy Richmond gives you a heads-up on breast health in your 20s

What’s happening to my boobs? There’s no denying that younger boobs are well known for their pert disposition. They are firm and perky because they have a high connective tissue to fat ratio. This gives them good tone and elasticity.

Just like our moods, our breasts are also sensitive to the hormonal changes that occur throughout the menstrual cycle. Prior to a period, it is common to experience breast swelling, tenderness and lumpiness due to fluid retention within the breast tissue.

What could this be? The most common cause of a single lump within a younger woman’s breast is a fibroadenoma. This is a benign breast tumour, which is painless and slow-growing. It feels like a firm, smooth lump that moves around when pressed.

When should I see the doc? According to Gillian Batt, director of Cancer Information and Support Services, Cancer Council NSW, “The most important thing a woman can do is to be aware of her own body. If you notice any change, or if something isn’t normal for you, it’s important to see a doctor and get it checked out.” Although breast cancer is much more likely to occur in an older woman, it is possible to develop at any age.

What should I be doing? Early detection of breast cancer can improve survival chances. For this reason, it’s important that we are vigilant. It is advisable to do self-breast checks each month. You should also have a clinical breast examination (performed by your doctor) every year.

Breast care tips: Lifestyle choices play a critical role in maximising the health of your breasts. While drinking alcohol (more than a glass a day) and smoking have both been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, regular activity (even as little as 2.5 hours a week) may reduce your risk by as much as 18 per cent.

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