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      You may have heard the old myth that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding cannot develop breast cancer. This myth can be quite dangerous because, on the contrary, it is absolutely vital to perform routine breast self-checks while you are pregnant and / or breast feeding.

     If you have had children, you probably know that your body is constantly changing throughput pregnancy and post-baby. Your breasts may be so sensitive, swollen and sore that you don’t want anybody touching them. It is also common to feel new lumps that you have never noticed before.  Breastfeeding can lower breast cancer risk, especially if a woman breastfeeds for longer than 1 year (See here). This doesn’t mean it cannot develop, this means there’s a lower risk.  

     The plastic surgeon Scottsdale suggests being familiar with your breasts so that you notice changes that occur.  If you notice something different, it is always best to see your trusted healthcare provider.  It is also important to continue your regular self-checks on your breasts while pregnant and / or nursing.

Here are tips for your routine breast cancer self-checks:

  1. Perform your breast self-check on the first day of each month.
  2. Once your menstrual cycle begins again, check your breasts 4–6 days after the start of your period.
  3. Complete the self-check in the shower, while your body is wet and soapy.
  4. Use the pads of 3 fingers to check each breast for lumps.
  5. Move your fingers in a row or “lawnmower” pattern.
  6. Go up and down all the way across one breast and then do the other breast.
  7. Suggested areas to check – Outside: armpit to collar bone, and below breast Middle: the breast itself Inside: the nipple area

Pregnancy and caring for an infant can be such a wonderful time for moms.  Just remember to take time for yourself and maintain your health and peace of mind. And always remember, if something does not feel normal, call your doctor.

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