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Breast Health

At Meenakshi Maternity, we believe every woman deserves the best breast care possible. We provide all the services needed for comprehensive care for the patient with a breast concern. We commit to meeting the breast health needs of all women. Every woman is concerned about her breast health, and for that reason alone, every woman deserves the best in breast care

Our top priority is to help you access breast care services as easily as possible and in a timely manner. provide individualized treatment plans, keeping in mind that every situation is unique and that the disease also varies between individuals. We work with a team of doctors, including a radiologist, pathologist, medical oncologist, radiation oncologist and plastic surgeon, to provide treatment options and an exceptional standard of care.

We also have a nurse navigator to provide resource information, education and emotional support as you face diagnosis and treatment of breast disease. At Meenakshi Maternity we are truly committed to delivering compassionate and timely care. Giving you peace of mind is our commitment.

Understanding Your Breasts
Many Women fail to perform breast self-examination because they don’t know how their breasts should feel and how to recognize changes. Normal breast tissue often feels nodular (lumpy) and varies in consistency from woman to woman. Even within each individual woman, the texture of breast tissue varies at different times in her menstrual cycle, and from time to time during her life. Understanding the normal anatomy of the breast will help you to become familiar with the normal feel of your own breast, and to gain confidence in your ability to do BSE correctly; you will be able to distinguish between suspicious new lumps and ordinary breast tissue that sometimes feels lumpy.
Normal Breast Changes
Puberty: Normal changes in the breasts, including enlargement of the areolae, begin when the breast begin to grow, before the onset of menstruation. Growth is controlled by the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, which continue to produce normal changes in breast tissue throughout a women’s lifetime. Such regular variations including swelling, tenderness and increased nodularity (lumpiness) just before the menstrual period, when hormone levels are highest; breast feel least nodular after menstruation. (The breast of young girls who have not yet begun to menstruate are seldom nodular at all.)

Pregnancy brings changes similar to those occurring before the menstrual period: breast become tender and swell with fluid; mammary gland and ducts enlarge; areolae may enlarge as well. The breasts generally become about one-third larger.

At menopause, mammary glands decrease in size, fibrous breast tissue loses strength and elasticity, and breasts become softer and sag with age. The skin of the breast, normally smooth, may become wrinkled as the supporting ligaments slacken.

At any age, our breasts will increase or decrease in size with changes in your weight; because they are largely composed of fatty tissue, their shape and texture may alter as well if your weight loss or gain is dramatic.

Most normal changes, take place in both breast, simultaneously and roughly symmetrically (that is, in the same relative position or are in each breast.) Such changes are less likely to indicate trouble than those occurring in one breast only.

Diet, Exercise and Breast Cancer
The National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society and the American Academy of Sciences have all issued guidelines recommending a reduction in fat consumption from 40% to 30% in the average woman’s diet, as well as decreasing the total caloric intake.

International differences in the incidence of breast cancer correlates with variations in diet, especially fat intake. Those countries where the diet is high in fat have a higher incidence of breast cancer.

However, a newly released Harvard study, that included over 335,000 women from four different countries all of whom followed a very low fat (less than 20% of their calories came from fat) diet, did not bear this out. The study found that test women on extremely low fat diets, had no more protection from breast cancer than women who ate the typical American diet, which contains more than 30% fat calories. Additional studies are being conducted. In the meantime, there is no question that a lower fat diet reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and possible colon cancer.

The American Journal of Public Health, (November 1, 1988) reported that getting a "lot" of fiber in your diet lowers your risk of breast cancer (as well as other types of cancer).

These findings were the result of a survey of 7700 women where it was found that women who frequently were constipated, (often the result of low fiber diets), were more apt to get breast cancer as well as colon cancer. The rational behind this is that when you are constipated, the toxins found in food have more time to be absorbed into your body, and the effects of these toxins are not limited to just the colon.

Studies conducted at Harvard Medical School and the National Cancer Institute have linked the consumption of alcoholic beverages with an increased risk of breast cancer. However, two studies, one conducted in 1988 by Dr. Susan Chu of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, George, and another study reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 1989, could not confirm this link.

More recent studies however, have again linked alcoholic drinks with an increased risk of breast cancer. A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 1993 showed that women who consumed an average of two drinks per day had higher levels of estrogen in their blood and urine than they did when they did not drink at all. (Their diet remained the same). Estrogen is known to be a potent hormone that promotes the growth of cells in the breast and the reproductive organs and many experts think the continual exposure of breast tissue to estrogen is probably at the root of breast cancer. Since all women do not get breast cancer, obviously other factors also play a role. Therefore, women who are already at increased risk for breast cancer would be advised to eliminate alcoholic beverages entirely.

At a recent symposium on breast cancer sponsored by the University of California, San Francisco, one of the speakers reported there are clear indications that the way to prevent breast cancer is to reduce the levels of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone.

Regular exercise dramatically reduces the risk of breast cancer in young women according to an article published in the November 1, 1994 issue of OB-GYN News.

Why exercise provides this protective effect is not fully known but any factor that reduces the frequency of ovulation would decrease the risk of breast cancer since investigators believe it is the cumulative exposure to ovarian hormones that appears to increase the risk of breast cancer. Exercise has been shown to shorten the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. It is during this phase that ovulation and the production of progesterone are stimulated.

A study of 1000 women matched for: age at the onset of menstruation, race, number of children born, history of breast feeding and family history of cancer, found that the risk of breast cancer decreased as the number of hours of exercise increased. Those women who exercised 4 hours per week (35 minutes per day) have over 50 percent less breast cancer than sedentary women. A diet very low in fat and high in fiber is also known to decrease the risk of breast cancer.

A radically new contraceptive system being developed will hopefully reduce estrogen and progesterone levels.

This new contraceptive system is now in clinical trials. By using this new contraceptive system for several years, the expectation is it will reduce the risk of breast cancer much like the current oral contraceptives have reduced the risk of ovarian cancer.

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