Looking after your breasts in your 40s
In your 30s, your chest is made up mostly of breast tissue.
But as you enter this decade, the percentage of fat in your
breasts increases. Fat's less likely to withstand the effects
of gravity, so your breasts will start to droop and
Your most common concern:
Breast cysts. As breasts change from their lactational
state, fluid can be trapped in the ducts, causing fluid-filled
cysts. They are harmless (though sometimes painful) and can be
evaluated by ultrasound and then aspirated if they are large or
uncomfortable. They won't increase your future risk of
Best breast-cancer-screening strategy:
Annual mammograms. Starting at age 40, it's crucial to get a
mammogram every year, especially since the test has only about
80 percent sensitivity in younger, premenopausal women. In this
way, if an early stage cancer is missed one year, it most
likely will be caught the next.
It's also important to do monthly at-home breast checks and
see your doctor for yearly breast exams.. A must for
premenopausal women: Find a center that offers digital
mammography, which takes an electronic image of your breasts
and stores it directly into a computer. A recent National
Cancer Institute study found that digital mammography picks up
more cases of cancer, but only in women who are premenopausal
and/or have dense breasts.
Best breast-saving move:
Stand up straight. As a woman gets older, her back muscles
weaken, and she tends to slouch, which gives her breasts the
appearance of hanging down to her belly butto. If you
strengthen your upper-back and torso muscles, you'll have a
nice open chest and shoulder line, which will help make your
breasts look perkier."
Try the back--shoulder blade squeeze:
Stand with shoulders relaxed and arms at your sides. Hold
the end of an exercise band in each hand in front of your body.
Exhale as you squeeze shoulder blades together, keeping your
shoulders relaxed, torso stable, and wrists flat; inhale as you
return arms to starting position. Do 8--12 reps, working up to
1 minute. And increase band resistance as you get stronger.
Premenopausal women who get three servings of low-fat dairy
every day and pop a calcium supplement with vitamin D daily
reduce their risk of breast cancer by about 40 percent,
according to a Harvard study.