Taking care of your breasts

Taking care of your breasts

Breast cancer is extremely rare in adolescent and teenage girls, but you might be worried about some of the changes going on in your breasts. In your early teenage years, you shouldn’t worry too much about your breasts; however, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk over your lifetime.

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  • Maintain a healthy body weight. It’s important to develop good patterns of healthy eating early in your life. Avoid junk foods and eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Regular exercise also reduces your risk. It’s important to continue to exercise regularly throughout your life.
  • Avoid alcohol and smoking as both of these contribute to cancer risk.

Breast cancer in your twenties and thirties is uncommon, it’s important to be aware of any changes in your breasts, and if they persist, have them checked by your doctor. A mammogram is not recommended as a regular screening tool for women under 40 (unless you know of an inherited risk).

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  • Be breast aware - know how your breasts normally look and feel, and regularly check for any unusual changes.
  • Understand your family history of breast cancer. Talk with your family members on both sides of your family.
  • Reduce your lifetime risk of breast cancer by adopting healthy lifestyle choices while you are still young.
  1. Touch
    Touch both breasts. You’re feeling for any lumps or thickening of the tissue, even up into the armpits.
  2. Look
    Look in front of a mirror. Can you see any physical changes to the breast shape, skin or nipples?
  3. Check
    Check any breast changes with your doctor. Even if you’ve had a mammogram recently.

Your risk of breast cancer begins to increase in your 40s, so it’s time to consider screening mammograms.Breast cancers also tend to grow faster in younger women, so it’s important to be aware of any new breastchanges.

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  • Consider starting mammograms at 40. You’re not eligible for free mammograms until age 45, so you’d need to pay for them yourself at a private radiology clinic.
  • Enrol for your free 2-yearly mammograms with BreastScreen Aotearoa from age 45 and alternate these with private mammograms.
  • Understand your family history of breast cancer. Talk with your family members on both sides of your family.
  • Be breast aware - even if you’re having regular mammograms, it’s still very important to check your breasts regularly.

Book a free mammogram (If you’re age 45-69)

Phone 0800 270 200 External URL timetoscreen.nz

Most breast cancers occur in women over 50 years of age, so it’s important that you keep up to date with regular mammograms after turning 50.

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  • Keep up to date with your free 2-yearly screening mammograms with BreastScreen Aotearoa.

  • Be breast aware - even if you’re having regular mammograms, it’s still very important to check your breasts regularly.

  • Adopt healthy lifestyle habits to help reduce your risk of breast cancer.

Book a free mammogram (If you’re age 45-69)

Phone 0800 270 200 External URL timetoscreen.nz

Be aware that you are still at risk of getting breast cancer. In fact, your breast cancer risk is higher at 70 than it is at 50.

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Continue with your regular screening mammograms. Currently, mammograms in this age group are not publicly funded, so if you want to continue having mammograms into your 70s you will have to pay for them yourself. (The Government has committed to "progressively increasing" the upper limit to 74 and you can enroll when this age extension comes into effect).

Even if you’re still having regular mammograms, it’s important to check your breasts regularly for any unusual changes.

  1. Touch
    Touch both breasts. You’re feeling for any lumps or thickening of the tissue, even up into the armpits.
  2. Look
    Look in front of a mirror. Can you see any physical changes to the breast shape, skin or nipples?
  3. Check
    Check any breast changes with your doctor. Even if you’ve had a mammogram recently.

BOOK A FREE MAMMOGRAM (If you’re age 45-69)

Phone 0800 270 200 External URL timetoscreen.nz