Breast Health at the Drexel Center for Women's Health
A common health concern for women is breast health, including lumps or changes, which can occur with periods, pregnancy and aging.
Should Breast Lumps Be a Concern?
Breast lumps in an adult woman raise concern for breast cancer, even though most lumps turn out not to be cancerous.
Call the doctor if:
- The skin on your breast appears dimpled or wrinkled (like the peel of an orange)
- You find a new breast lump during your monthly self-exam
- You have bruising on your breast, but did not experience any injury
- You have nipple discharge, especially if it is bloody or pinkish (blood-tinged)
- Your nipple is inverted (turned inward) but normally is not inverted
Also call if:
- You want guidance on how to perform a breast self-examination
- You are a woman over age 40 and have not had a mammogram in the past year
Treatment of a breast lump depends on the cause. Solid breast lumps are often removed surgically. Cysts can be drained. Breast infections require antibiotics. If breast cancer is diagnosed, most women receive surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or hormonal therapy. Discuss these options carefully and thoroughly with your doctor.
If you have a family history of breast cancer, your doctor may also suggest testing for genes that make you more likely to get breast cancer.
Maintaining Healthy Breasts
Breast cancer screening is an important way to find breast cancer early, when it is most easily treated and cured.
- Get regular mammograms.
- If you are over age 20, consider doing a monthly breast self-exam.
- If you are over age 20, have a complete breast exam by your provider at least every 3 years—every year if you are over 40.
Having fibrocystic breast tissue, mastitis, or breast tenderness related to PMS does NOT put you at greater risk for breast cancer. Having fibrocystic breasts does, however, make your self-exam more challenging, because there are many normal lumps and bumps.
To Prevent Breast Cancer
- Exercise regularly
- Reduce fat intake
- Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and other high fiber foods
- Do not drink more than 1 or 1 1/2 glasses of alcohol a day
Breast Health Physicians
Lydia Komarnicky, M.D.
Breast Health and Radiation Oncology
The information on these pages is provided for general information only and should not be used for diagnosis or treatment, or as a substitute for consultation with a physician or health care professional. If you have specific questions or concerns about your health, you should consult your health care professional.