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How postpartum breast changes affect your risk of breast cancer

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During pregnancy and delivery, your breasts become dense – as long as you are breastfeeding – dr. Idris Abdur-Rahman, OB-GYN, the author of Everything You Wanted to Know About Pregnancy (But Ask if You Were Afraid or Embarrassed) and tells Half of the Twin Doctors for Twin DoctorsTV. “The breast has three primary components – adipose tissue, lobules (where milk is produced), and ducts that carry milk from the lobules to the nipple. As the hormones (estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin) increase during pregnancy. , Lobules expand in preparation for lactation. This enlargement is responsible for increasing the density of breasts. ” And the risk of breast cancer.

However, they go back to your regular density when the baby recovers. “Once a woman conceives, the lobules will grow back to pre-pregnancy size and the breast size and density will also return to their pre-pregnancy status. Therefore, in the short term, yes, the density will increase, but in the long term, no, the density will remain unchanged.

According to Abdur-Rahman, it is related to breast cancer, even if your breasts become dense, but there are studies that breastfeeding actually reduces your risk for breast cancer. “In addition to reducing the risk of breast cancer, pregnancy and breastfeeding also reduce a woman’s overall risk of ovarian cancer. During pregnancy and usually especially during breastfeeding, women do not ovulate and therefore do not cycle. This keeps estrogen and progesterone levels lower than at other times in their reproductive lives. This short lifetime of exposure to hormones reduces the risk of both breast and ovarian cancer. “

breast cancer
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Thankfully, when you breastfeed or are no longer pregnant, your breasts return to normal. But as far as breast density and breast cancer goes, there are some risks according to experts. Simply put, having thick breasts means you have a lot of “glandular tissue” according to the National Cancer Institute website. And when this density increases, it can affect your screening.

Dr., Medical Director of Breast Imaging at MemorialCare Breast Center of Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California. “Two elements contribute to mammographic breast density,” Richard Ritherman told Romper. One, like family history, is a primary risk factor. The second is the risk of mammographically recalling cancer, known as ‘masking’.

Masking refers to how well doctors can look at cancer cells during mammograms on well-breasted breasts. “Because breast cancers appear ‘white’ on a mammogram, cancer is easily detected in fatty tissue (high sensitivity). At the other end of the spectrum, cancer can ‘hide’ as breast density increases. Premenopausal. Up to 60 per cent of women have predominantly dense (white) tissue, which the effectiveness and sensitivity of mammogram cancer detection will be lower in younger women.

But do not panic. Dr Jenny Grumley, breast surgical oncologist and director of the Margie Peterson Breast Center at Providence St. John’s Center and associate professor of surgery at the John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, California, tells Roemer, “New imaging technology for tomosynthesis or 3D mammograms May occur. Detecting small cancers and reducing back calls in patients with dense breast tissue. At NY Generally, women should start breast cancer screening with annual mammals at the age of 40 years. “

Thankfully, “mentioned on the National Cancer Institute website,” factors associated with low breast density include increasing age, bearing children, and using tamoxifen. “Factors associated with high breast density include using postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy and a low body mass index.”

So when the density of your breast changes during pregnancy and postpartum, fortunately, your breasts will revert to their normal postpartum density, and after your baby is weaned if you are exclusively breastfeeding. According to the size and shape of your breasts, I cannot help you until you are healed. My size has definitely changed to say the least. But at least as far as getting breast cancer goes, it doesn’t necessarily give you a high risk – in fact, breastfeeding and pregnancy can reduce your risk.


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