Preventing Breast Cancer: Staying Healthy in Your Forties
Women in their 40’s often experience health shifts, which go hand in hand with the time of a woman’s life when the risk of breast cancer is at its highest. Some of these tests which can detect breast cancer in its earliest stages include breast cancer screenings such as mammograms, ultrasounds, and even self-exams.
Breast Cancer Prevention
The National Breast Cancer Foundation advises women aged 40 and older to have mammograms every one or two years as the best way to detect breast cancer early. Mammograms can detect breast cancer in its earliest stages, as these x-rays can reveal suspicious areas in the breast before a lump can be seen or felt.
Many symptoms of breast cancer are not easily detectable, especially in the earliest stages, and therefore require medical screening. However, knowing the signs of suspicious breast tissue is useful for women to recognize when a doctor’s visit is warranted. Although breast lumps are not a definitive sign of cancer, further testing can confirm a cancer diagnosis.
Other methods of breast cancer screening include ultrasounds, which do not use radiation and can differentiate a fluid-filled cyst from a solid tissue mass.
Signs of Breast Cancer
Changes in the breast and nipple can signal that abnormal breast cells are developing. This can be evident upon self-exams when a woman palpates the breast tissue for abnormal masses and visually inspects the breast for changes. This is another important way to protect from breast cancer.
Some of the signs of unusual changes in one or both breasts include:
- Lumps or thickening of breast tissue
- Appearance changes, such as shrinkage or swelling
- Dimpling or pitted skin
- Nipple discharge that may be bloody
- Other inexplicable changes of the breast size or shape
Kegel Exercises and Women’s Health After 40
Once a woman turns 40, she’s at a significantly increased risk of developing breast cancer, but also might experience a slower metabolism, loss of muscle tone, depression, and even lower libido. Kegel exercises can help women with weakened pelvic floor muscles, even breast cancer survivors, who face issues like pelvic floor pain and incontinence.
One often-overlooked aspect of women’s health is sexual health, and PeriCoach recognizes that a lower libido may be the result of unsatisfactory sexual activity due to weak pelvic floor muscles, which can be treated with regular Kegel exercises. As Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor, they can increase sexual sensation and libido.
Eating right, exercising regularly, and having regular preventative medical exams like breast cancer screenings are just some of the ways a woman can maintain a healthy lifestyle in her 40’s.