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Active Living
Full Listing with story descriptions
A Healthy Balance
Ankle Sprains
Active Kids, Healthy Kids
Active Kids in Winter
Athletic Skin Infections
Children, Nutrition & Exercise
Beat the Heat!
Cold Weather Workouts
Concussions
Core Stability
Cross Country Skiing
Exercise and Disabilities
Exercise and Menstrual Irregularities
Exercise in the Cold
Exercise in the Heat
Exercise is Medicine
Exercise Options
Exercising in Pregnancy
Female Athletes
FITT Prescription
Footwear for Running
From Surviving to Thriving
Flexibility
Gadgets & Gizmos
Get Moving!
Get Motivated
Golf Exercises
Golf Injury Prevention
Head Injuries
Hockey Injuries
Home Gyms
Immunization
Jump Start Weight Loss
Knee Cap Pain
Knee Ligament Injuries
Live Actively
Low Back Pain
Osteoporosis & Exercise
Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis of the Knee
Plantar Fasciitis
Prehistoric Workout
Prevention of Sports Injury
Proprioception
Recreational Safety Equipment
Running
Safe Snow Shovelling
Shin Splints
Ski Conditioning
Shoes & Fit
Sore Elbow
Sore Shoulder
Spinal Cord Injuries
Staying Active
Staying Fit in the Cold
Sports Nutrition & Supplements
Strength Training
Swimming Injuries
Teen Sports Injuries
Walking
Water and Exercise
Weight Training
7 Wonders of Walking
Adolescent Health
Full Listing with story descriptions
Acne
Adolescent Behaviour Problems
Adolescent Growth & Development
Body Image
Body Piercing
Bullying
Chronic Diseases in Teens
Communications Skills
Concussion in Sport
Cosmetics & Skincare
Dangers of Artificial Tanning
Depression
Depression - Causes
Drug Use
Female Physical Exam
First Period
Internet Safety
Junior High
Mentoring to Quit Smoking
Mononucleosis
Parent-Teen Communication
Parent -Teen Interaction Patterns
Personal Care
Psychological Assessment
School Problems
Self Esteem
Self Esteem & Body Image
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Talking About Sex
Taking Chances
Tattoos
Teaching Respect
Teens & Smoking
Teenage Blues
Teen Bedwetting
Teen Drivers
Teen Girls
Teen Health
Teen Immunization
Teen Independence
Teen Rebellion
Teens & Divorce
Teenagers and Sexual Issues
Teens & Exercise
A Woman's Physical
Your First Job
Youth Violence
Childbirth
Full Listing with story descriptions
Advice from the Maternity Clinic
Advice from the Maternity Clinic (Part 2)
Alcohol in Pregnancy
Building a Better Baby
Birthing Etiquette
Birth Plans
Birthing Procedure Trends
Bleeding in Pregnancy
Breastfeeding Benefits
Caesarean Section by Request
Care for the New Mother
Cord Blood Banking
Delaying Motherhood
Blue after Baby or Postpartum Depression
Diabetes in Pregnancy
Eating Well for Pregnancy
Evolving Ideas about Pregnancy and Birth
Exercise in Pregnancy
Flying During Pregnancy
Folic Acid in Pregnancy
High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy
Getting a latch on breastfeeding
Group B Streptococcus
Induction of Labour
Infections During Pregnancy
Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR)
In-Vitro Fertilization
Low Birth Weight Babies
Medication & Pregnancy
Miscarriage
Managing Your Own Labour
Monitoring Your Labour
Nausea & Vomiting in Pregnancy
Pain Relief in Labour
Prenatal Classes
Preterm Labour
Planning a Pregnancy
Pregnancy Weight
Prenatal Care Providers
Postpartum Repetitive Strain Injuries
RH Disease
Rupture of Membranes Before Labour
Sex During Pregnancy
Skin Changes in Pregnancy
Smoking and Pregnancy
Support During Labour
Travelling While Pregnant
Ultrasound for Fun & Photos
Natural Remedies in Pregnancy
Vaccinations During Pregnancy
Vacuum & Forceps for Delivery
Vaginal Birth After Caesarean
When Baby Comes Home
Childhood
Full Listing with story descriptions
Asthma in Children
Attention Deficit Disorder
Babysitter
Bed Wetting
Chickenpox
Childcare Options
Children's Headaches
Childhood Obesity
Choosing A Babysitter
Circumcision
Colds & Flu
Common Childhood Skin Infections
Croup
Developmental Milestones
Diaper Rash
Daytime Wetting
Introducing Solid Foods
Developmental Co-ordination Disorder
Diarrhea
Discipline
Earache
Eczema
Feeding Your Baby
Feeding Your Toddler
Fever
Head Lice
Hearing
How Children Grow
Hearing Loss
Hearing Issues in Newborns
Heart Murmers
Hip Clicks
Influenza
Iron
Is it an Emergency?
Children and Sports Injuries
Lazy Eye (Amblyopia)
Learning Disabilities
Leg Problems
Not Just Baby Fat
Orthodontics
Preparing for Lab Tests
Recognizing Learning Disabilities
Red Rashes
RSV-Childhood Respiratory Virus
Safe Summer Fun
School
Scoliosis
Sick Toddler
Sleep Struggles
Sniffles, Fevers, Rashes & Coughs
Sore Throats
Speech Problems
Strep Throat
Toddler Safety
Thumbsucking
Tooth Injuries
Tummyache
Urinary Tract Infections
Vaccinations
Vaccination and Autism
When to go to the Doctor
Whooping Cough
Worried Sick
Yeast Infections in Children
Chronic Pain
Full Listing with story descriptions
Introduction
Managing Your Pain
Movement Matters
Moving Forward
Nutrition
Opioids
Pacing
Pain Medications
Prevention
Returning to Work
Understanding and Goal Setting
When Pain Doesn't End
Dental Health
Full Listing with story descriptions
Antibiotics and Dental Surgery
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Baby Teeth
Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Children's Dental Injuries
Choosing a Dentist
Cosmetic Dentistry
Mouth Guards
Dental Exam
Dental Care Devices
Dental Caries
Dental Care Offshore
Dental Implants
Dental X-Rays
Dentures and Healthy Jaw
Esthetic Dentistry
Fluoride
Fluoride Findings
First Dental Visit
Headaches
A Healthy Mouth
Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body
Jaw Joint and Muscle Problems
Keeping it Clean
Laser Use in Dentistry
Mouth Protection Equipment
Oral Cancer Screening
Oral Healthcare
Oral health and long term care
Oral Health Care Products
Orthodontics
Orthodontist First Visit
Painless Dentistry
Periodontal Disease
Removable Dentures
Root Canal
Seniors Oral Care
Sensitive Teeth
The Smile You Want
Sore Mouth, Aching Jaw
Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Smiling through the Senior Years
Teeth for Life
Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)
Tobacco Risks to Oral Health
Tongue Piercing
Tooth Whitening
Travel Dentistry
Water Fluoridation
Wisdom Teeth
Your Healthy Smile
DIABETES
Full Listing with story descriptions
10,000 Steps
A1C Test
Accurate Blood Glucose Testing
Alchohol and Diabetes
A Diabetes Success Story
ABCs of Diabetes Management
Alternate Site Testing
Artery Health
ASA Therapy
Benefits of Insulin
Benefits of Breakfast
Blood Glucose Medications
Blood Glucose Myths
Blood Glucose Testing
Blood Glucose Testing Tips
Blood Sugar Lows
Blood Glucose Monitors
C-Peptide Testing
Canada Food Guide Revisited
Carbohydrate Counting
Catastrophic Drug Plan
CDA Guidelines for Diabetes
Celiac Disease and Diabetes
Childhood Diagnosis of Diabetes
Children and Type 2 Diabetes
Cholesterol-lowering Medications
Colds and Diabetes
Constipation
Continuous Blood Glucose Monitoring
Cutting Edge
Debunking Diabetes Myths
Driving and Diabetes
Diabetes and Menopause
Diabetes and OTC Medications
Diabetes Care Team
Diabetes and Celiac
Diabetes and Depression
Diabetes Diet
Diabetes Eating on a Shoestring Budget
Diabetes Etiquette
Diabetes and Oral Health
Diabetes and Thyroid Disease
Diabetes and Your Mouth
Diabetes and Your Eyes
Diabetes in Cats
Diabetes in Dogs
Diabetes Management ABCs
Diabetes Meter Technicians
Diabetes Myths
Diabetic Ketoacidosis
Diabetic Retinopathy
Diet Tips for South Asians
Dining Out
Drinking and Diabetes
The Discovery of Insulin
Eating Disorders
Easing the Strain of Stress
Eating to Protect Your Kidneys
Eggs in a Diabetic Diet
Emotional Eating
Emotions of Diabetes Diagnosis
Erectile Dysfunction
Exercise Excuses
Why Fad Diets Fail
Fats
Fibre
Fill Your Day with Energy
Financial Support for Diabetes
Food Temptation
Foot Care
Footwear and Foot Health
Fruits and Veggies
Gastroparesis
Gestational Diabetes
Get Active
Get Physical
Gift Ideas
Glycemic Index and Glycemic Loads
The Glycemic Index
Going Green in the Kitchen
Grocery Shopping Tips
Guidelines for Diabetes Management
Holiday Party Survival Guide
Health Information on the 'Net
Healthy Happy Holidays
Healthy Beverage Choices
Health Benefits of Soy
Healthy Restaurant Meals
High Blood Pressure and Diabetes
High Blood Pressure
HbA1c Test
Healthy Eating for Active People
High Blood Lipids
Home from the Hospital
Home Alone and Sick
Hypoglycemic Unawareness
Impaired Glucose Tolerance
Immunization & Diabetes
Incretins-a Hormone Treatment
Injecting Insulin
Insulin Discovery-The Story
Insulin
Insulin Handling
Insulin - the Key to Energy Management
Insulin Pumps
Insulin Pen Needles
Insulin Pump Infusion Sets
Insulin Pump Therapy
Immunization and Diabetes
Internet Health Sites
Islet Cell Transplantation
Insurance
Ketones
Kidney Disease - Reducing the Risk
Living with Diagnosis of Diabetes
Living Powerfully with Diabetes
Low Blood Glucose
Managing Diabetes
Managing Blood Glucose
Metformin
Nutrition Food Labels
Meal Planning
Your Medication Expert
Medication Research Studies
Metabolic Syndrome
Microalbuminuria
New Diabetes Technologies
Natural Medicines and Diabetes
No Need for Insulin?
Not Snoozing
Over-the-Counter Medications
Oral Health and Diabetes
Osteoporosis and Diabetes
Diabetes and OTC Medications
Pedicure Precautions
Peripheral Arterial Disease
Pet Diabetes
Planning for Pregnancy
Prebiotics and Probiotics
Preparing for Activity
Putting off Insulin
Reducing Stress of Surgery
Safe and Successful Travel
Schizophrenia and Diabetes
Sensible Snacking
Setting Health Goals
Setting Goals for Physical Activity
Sharps Disposal
Shorter Insulin Needles
Sleep - a Missing Link
Smart Snacking
Smart Summer Nutrition
Snack Bars
Snacking with Diabetes
Sodium
Social Media & Diabetes
Solving the Insurance Puzzle
Stress and Diabetes
Success in School
Supplements
Supporting Spouse with Diabetes
Sweeteners
Sugar, Carbs and Blood Glucose Control
Think Positive with Diabetes
Tiny Bites Equal Big Calories
Traveling with Diabetes
Tips for a Better You
Tobacco Use and Diabetes
Top 10 Reasons to Exercise
Treating Low Blood Glucose
Treating Hypoglycemia - Role of Glucagon
Tune up Your Diet
Type 1.5 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes
Understanding Diabetes
Understanding Diabetes Medications
Understanding Ketones
Used Sharps
Urinary Incontinence
Vacationing with Diabetes
Vegetarian Eating for Diabetes
Vitamin D
Walking
Wise Choices About Natural Medicines
Wonderful Water
Natural Medicines & Diabetes
World Diabetes Day
Your Medicine Cupboard
Zimbabwe Hand Jive
Family Medicine
Full Listing with story descriptions
ADHD in Children
Allergic Rhinitis
Allergies
Antibiotic Use
Arthritis
Aspirin Every Day?
Asthma
Back Pain
Back Pain Myths
Back Pain - Lower
Birth Control
Bladder Problems
Blood Transfusions
Breaast and Prostate Cancer Screening
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Check-Up
Colon Cancer Screening
Contact Lenses
Contraception
COPD
Cost of Doctor's Visit
Diabetes Management
Diarrhea
Diagnostic Tests
Do I Need a Bone Density Test?
Doctor Visit
Driving Vision
Dizziness
Dealing with Dry Eyes
Does My Sore Knee Require an MRI?
Do I Need an Annual Physical?
Eczema
Electronic Medical Records
Epilepsy
Eye Exam
Family Doctor
Fibromyalgia
Floaters and Flashes
Food Poisoning
5 Ways to Stay Healthy
Gallbladder
Get Active!
Glare
Headaches
Healthcare Teams
Heart Health
Hemorrhoids
Hepatitis C
Human Papilloma Virus
High Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure Risks
How to Talk to Your Doctor
Hypothyroidism
Insomnia
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Joint Replacement Surgery
Kidney Disease
Lazy Eye Blindness (Amblyopia)
Medical Digital Technology
Migraine
Meningitis
Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Myeloma
Obesity
Opioid Myths
Primary Healthcare Reform
Prostate Problems
Quitting Smoking
Red Eyes
Respiratory Tract Infections
Restore Your Core
Rosacea
Screening Tests
Shingles
Sinusitis
Special Diagnostic Tests
Stopping Stroke
Stroke
Superbugs
Thyroid
Ulcers
Urine Tests
Vaccination Controversies (ask the doctor)
Win by Losing
Urinary Tract Infections
Vision Flickers
First Aid
Full Listing with story descriptions
Bites and Stings
Burns
Choking
Cuts and Scrapes
Eye Injuries
Fainting and Convulsions
First Aid Travel Kit
Hypothermia and Frostbite
Nosebleeds
Poisoning - Household
Emergency Care Guidelines
Sunburn
Growing Older
Full Listing with story descriptions
Advance Care Plans
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Alzheimer Disease
Avoiding Memory Loss
Building Strength
Dementia and Agitation
Cataracts
Can I see Well Enough to Drive?
Cholesterol
Congestive Heart Failure
Coping with Dementia
Constipation
Controlling Medications
C.O.P.D.
Delirium
Dizziness (Vertigo)
Eating Well
Elder Abuse
Exercise Benefits
Erectile Dysfunction
Eye Care
Eyesight and Driving
Feet
Frailty
Fungal Nail Infections
Get Active!
Glaucoma
Grief
Have Health, Will Travel
Health Tips for Seniors
Hearing
Incontinence
Joint Replacement
Lab Tests
Living Longer With Diabetes
Macular Degeneration
Male Menopause (Andropause)
Maintaining Quality of Life as You Age
Memory Loss
New Corneal Treatments
Nutrition for Seniors
Osteoarthritis
Osteoporosis
Parkinson Disease
Problem Gambling
Prostate Health
Retirement
Seniors and Medications
Senior Sexuality
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Screening Tests
Seniors and Driving
Sleeplessness
Skin Structure
Skin Protection
Skin Over 50
Solving Sleep Issues
Staying Healthy
Stroke Prevention
Travel Tips for Snowbirds
Wills and Personal Directives
Modern Living
Full Listing with story descriptions
Abuse
Acupuncture
Adult ADHD
Aging and Memory
Alcohol and Your Health
Anger Management
Antidepressants
Barbecue Basics
Bathtub Safety
Binge Drinking
Bisphenol A
Canada's New Blood System
Caring for a Loved One Dying at Home
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Computer Stress
Coping With Change
Cosmetic Surgery
Cosmetic Pesticides
Depression
Diabetes Epidemic
Discipline
Diseases from Pets
Downsizing
Dying at Home
Erectile Dysfunction New Treatments
Exotic Travel
Fertility Issues
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
Foodborne Illness
Flu Pandemic
Grief
Harassment
Healing Through Music
Healthy Computing
Humidex
Hypnotherapy
Ice Safety
Indoor Air Quality
Lymphedema
Mature Student
Melamine in Food
Middle Age Health
Mind-Body Connection
Mom Time
Money Matters
Outdoor Workers and Sun Safety
Patient Safety in the Hospital
Pets and Health Benefits
Pet Therapy
Physiotherapy Visit
Planning for End of LIfe
Reproductive Freedom
Safe Drinking Water
Schizophrenia
Smokeless Tobacco
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Soy
Stigma of Mental Illness
Street Drugs
Stressed or Depressed?
Stress in the Workplace
Stress Leave
Swim to Survive
Sunburn
Time Management
Travel Health Protection
Travel Comfort Tips
Travel Immunization
Understanding Change
Unplugging
Whiplash
Wind Chill Index
Workplace Drug Testing
Workplace Health
Nutrition
Full Listing with story descriptions
5 Tips to Manage Weight
10 Ways to Cut Down on Fat
Battle the Bulge
Boost Your Bone Strength
Body Image
Breakfast is Important
Bowel Health
Building Your Bones
Celiac Disease
Challenging the Milk Myth
Diet Reality Check
Drink Up!
Eating Smarter & Cheaper
Energy Drinks
Food Allergies
Food for Active Kids
Fast Food
Food Labels
Giving Up Gluten
Healthy Diet, Healthy Smile
Healthy Eating for Boomers and Zoomers
Healthy Eating for Seniors
Healthy Eating on Business Travel
Healthy Ethnic Meals
Fad Diets
Fruits & Veggies - 5-10 a Day
Fats
Fat Phobias
Fats & Cholesterol
Feeding Your Kids
Fibre
Food Chemistry 101
Food and Mood
Getting Kids to MOVE
Healthy Eating for Teens
Healthy Habits
Herbal Medicine and Nutrition
New Ingredients for Your Shopping Cart
Iron
Kid's Food
Liquid Candy
Meal Planning with Planned Overs
Mercury Levels in Fish
Night Snacking
Night Shift Eating
Nutrition on the Net
Nutrition Myths Busted
Nutrition Questions Top 5
Nutrition for Menopause
Essential Omega-3
Preventing Cancer Through Nutrition
Picky Eaters
Power of Fruits & Veggies
Portion Control
Power Lunch
PMS and Nutrition
Preparing for Surgery
Probiotics
Reducing High Blood Pressure
Replacement Meals
Sensible Snacking
Sodium
Sodium and Blood Pressure
Sports-Minded Nutrition
Sugar Substitutes
Survive and Thrive
Teen Nutrition
Tips for a SuperDiet
Understanding Food Biotechnology
Vacation Eating
Vitamins D
Vitamins and Minerals
Vegetarian Diet
Weight Loss
Weight Wise Tips
Pharmacy Care
Full Listing with story descriptions
After a Heart Attack
Adverse Drug Reactions
Adult Vaccinations
Allergy Attack
Antibiotic Overuse
New Anticoagulant Medications
Inhaled Asthma medications
Arthritis Medications
Biologics
Biological Response Modifiers
Blood Pressure Monitoring
Blood Thinners
Calcium and Iron Supplements
Changing Role of the Pharmacist
Children's Cold Remedies
Child's Fever
Choosing Sunscreens
Cold Relief
Cold Sores
Constipation and Haemorrhoids
Diuretics and Potassium Supplements
Drug Recalls and Withdrawals
Drug Interactions
Emergency Contraception
Erectile Dysfunction
Expanding Role of Pharmacies
Eye Protection - Sunglasses
Feminine Hygiene
Generic or Name Brand?
Heartburn
Heart Health
Insomnia
Kids and Cold Medications
Medication Questions?
Metabolic Syndrome
Natural Medicines
New Blood Thinners
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Obesity Medication
Over-the-Counter Drugs
Over-the-Counter Drugs and Pregnancy
OTC Pain Relief
Packing Medications for Travel
Pharmaceutical Studies
Preventing Summer Hazards
Research Studies
Quit Smoking
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Sports & Nutrition Supplements
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Taking Medication
Take as Directed
Using Antibiotics Wisely
Viagra
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Your Best Shot
Your Medicine Cupboard
Prevention
Full Listing with story descriptions
Accident Prevention
Alcohol
Antibiotic Resistance
Backpack Pain
Bacteria Fight Back
Bedbugs
Disaster Planning
Diseases from Pets
Caffeine
Cell Phones and Driving
Childhood Obesity
Cancer Prevention Tips
Chronic Disease Prevention
Cold and Flu Season
Disaster Planning
Diseases from Pets
Distracted Driving
Farm Safety for City Kids
Foodborne Illness
Flu Pandemic
The Flu and You
Heading Home for a Visit
Health Tips for Snowbirds
Hearing Loss and Music Players
H1N1 Virus - Plan Ahead
Household Mould
Infection Control
Injury Prevention
Live Actively!
Insect Repellant
Keys to Preventing Cancer
Kids' Mental Health
Live Actively!
Low Birth Weight
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Are Pesticides Safe?
Preventing Burns and Scalds
Preventing Cancer through Nutrition
Quit Smoking 101
Respiratory Infections
Seniors and STIs
Should You Immunize?
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Surviving Disaster
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Teens, Drugs and Driving
Travel Health Considerations
Travel Medicine 101
Travel Tips
Type 2 Diabetes Prevention
Water Smarts
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Workplace Alcohol Abuse
Women's Health
Full Listing with story descriptions
15 Great Reasons to Breastfeed
Anemia
Approaching Menopause
Birth Control
Breast Cancer Screening
Breast Cancer - Genetic Risks
Breast Cancer Self-Exam
Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines Changes
Breast Health
Breastfeeding Myths
Cervical Cancer Screening
Contraception
Contraception for Mature Women
Cosmetic Procedures
Cystitis
Endometriosis
Estrogen's Effect on the Brain
Fear of Fracture
Fibroids
Heart Attack
Hirsutism - Unwanted Hair
Hormone Replacement Therapy
The IUD
Menopause - What Men Should Know
Menstrual Bleeding - Abnormal
Menstrual Bleeding - Heavy
Menopause
Menstruation Myths
Menstrual Pain
Third Generation Birth Control Pills
Osteoporosis
Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian Cysts
Oral Contraction (The Pill)
Pap Test
Premenstrual Syndrome
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Sexually Transmitted Infections
Urinary Incontinence
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Viagra for Women
Yeast Infections
Your Pelvic Floor
Family Health Online / Pharmacy at Safeway
All Words Any Words Phrase
Family Health Magazine - WOMEN'S HEALTH

Considering Breast Health
A lifetime of changes

Breasts are very important parts of a woman’s body. They are symbols of femininity, nurturing, motherhood and sexuality. They are also physiologically significant, producing milk to nourish our offspring. Throughout history and cultures, breasts have been admired and criticized. Different trends in culture still dictate what is considered the best size, shape and function. The topic of female breasts is emotionally charged. Women have strong and varied opinions about the reason for and value of their breasts.

Breast concerns are a common reason for visiting the doctor. Many women encounter problems like breast pain or lumps. These can be worrying, but are not serious most of the time. Breast symptoms may also be clues to other disorders of hormone glands or internal organs.

Breast cancer is the most diagnosed type of cancer in Canadian and American women today. The topic of male stroke receives little attention. However, on rare occasions, men’s breasts are also at risk for similar ailments, including cancer and infection. Children too can have breast symptoms, which should be evaluated by a doctor. 

A bit about the breast

Development

Stages of Puberty - breast developmentBreasts are composed of mammary glands capable of producing milk, and fat tissue and connective tissue which further shape and fill the breast. The overlying skin has a central darker colored circle, called the areola, and a nipple. In both males and females, the basic parts of the breast develop before birth. The beginnings of mammary glands grow very slowly until the hormone changes of puberty start maturing these glands in girls. Hormone signals from the brain and ovaries stimulate breast development along with the other changes of puberty. Estrogen is the most important hormone that brings about these changes. Breast buds are small disk-like areas of tissue under the nipples. Their appearance signals the onset of puberty. Boys stop developing further breast structures before puberty starts.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Breasts achieve full development during pregnancy and lactation. At this time, the mammary glands and duct structures grow to their full extent and are capable of making breast milk. A combination of hormones, including the pregnancy hormone HCG, allows breasts to reach their greatest size. Rapid breast growth may create stretch marks on breast skin. Nipples also become more prominent and may be darker in colour. After delivery of the baby, once breast milk production is no longer needed and milk is not expressed, mammary glands diminish and breasts become smaller again.

Menopause

Aging of the breast - courtesy WikipediaWhen a woman reaches menopause and stops menstruating, her ovaries make much less of the estrogen and progesterone hormones. As a result, the breast glands and ducts begin to shrink and disappear. Connective tissue supporting the glands becomes dehydrated and less elastic. These changes mean that breasts become smaller and less firm. Women may notice that their breasts flatten or droop.

The nipples no longer point straight outward but down and to the sides. Such changes are all part of a natural aging process.

Plastic surgery for breasts

Throughout history and cultures, style has dictated the most desirable breast appearance. Some women who feel their breasts are too small want to enlarge them. Others find their breasts too large and consider procedures to reduce their size. Women who need their breasts surgically changed for medical reasons may consider similar procedures. Such reasons can include a previous mastectomy (surgical breast removal), or chronic back and spine problems related to larger breasts.

For many women, both breasts appear to match in size. However, they are never created equal. Women who have pronounced differences in the size or shape of the breasts may choose to match them through surgery. Others use it to counteract the effects of aging on the breasts. Thousands of women have breast surgery in Canada and the U.S. every year, for many different reasons.

Who is a good candidate for breast plastic surgery?

As with any surgery, good overall health reduces the risk of complications. Women who are having breast plastic surgery should maintain a stable weight and not plan on significant weight changes after surgery. The appearance of the breasts will change with the amount of body fat. Pregnancy and breastfeeding also affect the appearance of breasts, as well as the way that surgery makes them look. If a woman is having reconstructive surgery, its timing may be affected by other procedures such as radiation treatment. Women must be well informed and have realistic expectations. Before making a decision about surgery, fully discuss your expectations with your family doctor and plastic surgeon.

Breast reconstruction procedure

A breast reconstruction procedure is usually done after breast tissue has been removed due to breast cancer. Breasts can be surgically reconstructed in several ways, including the use of implants and tissue flaps. Various flap procedures involve moving muscle and fatty tissue from other parts of the body, usually from the belly to the chest, to create a breast. The nipple may also be reconstructed from skin taken from other areas. This procedure is usually funded by the provincial health care system.

Breast reduction procedure

Breast reduction procedure, courtesy WikipediaSome women suffer significant discomfort due to larger breast weight. This may include chronic back, shoulder, neck and breast pain. Lifestyle adjustments, such as a well-fitted bra and weight loss, may improve these concerns. If not, breast reduction surgery may be an option. Several approaches to this surgery are possible. Most involve removing some of the breast tissue and skin, and repositioning the nipples if necessary. This procedure is usually funded by the provincial health care system.

Breast augmentation (enlargement) procedure

Breast augmentation procedureBreast implant procedure has been done for several decades now. Techniques and materials used continue to improve. The idea is to make the breast implant look and feel similar to the natural breast. Implants are usually round sacks filled with fluid, either silicone or saline. These sacks are surgically inserted either behind existing breast tissue or deeper under a layer of chest muscle. One of four types of incisions is used to insert the implant: under the breast, in the armpit, around the nipple or near the belly button. Implants come in many sizes to achieve the desired look. The patient covers the cost of this procedure.

Breast lift procedure

With age, pregnancy and large weight loss, breasts may lose their fullness and volume. These changes are natural and do not need any medical intervention. Still, some women choose to have surgery to change the appearance of their breasts. Hormone replacement therapy for troublesome symptoms associated with menopause may only slightly slow breast gland shrinkage. Various creams on the market may improve the hydration and appearance of breast skin. However, they will not affect the internal mammary gland changes. Some plastic surgeons may offer a breast lift procedure (mastoplexy) that aims to remove extra skin and reposition the nipples. The woman is responsible for the cost of this procedure.

Common concerns after breast surgery

Most women who choose to have breast surgery are satisfied and remain in good health. As with any surgery, excessive blood loss, infection, and reaction to anesthesia are the most frequent concerns right after surgery.

Breastfeeding may not be possible after breast reduction or augmentation. This depends on how much tissue has been removed, as well as scarring. Still, on average about 60 per cent of women are able to nurse successfully. So far, research shows that breast implants do not appear to affect the health of the baby or quality of breast milk. However, it is not known for sure whether silicone from the implant passes into the milk. Sensation around the surgical incision scars can also change, leaving little or no feeling in the breast area.

Breast implants are not guaranteed for life. It is possible that the implant may break or leak in the future, or change shape or position. Also, a woman’s own tissue may grow a hard capsule around the implant, which may need to be surgically removed. A rare possible complication of breast implants is lymphoma, a type of cancer, around the implant.

Breast implants make the process of screening for breast cancer more difficult. Growing masses can be masked by the implant during a physical exam and mammography (breast x-ray). Breast implant material blocks radiation and may hide small cancer lesions. For this reason, women with breast implants have more views of their breasts taken during mammography. This is an attempt to ensure no concerning growths are missed. Some doctors advise these women to have breast MRIs to better see all breast regions.

Common breast concerns

If you have a breast concern, doing your own Internet research may lead to unnecessary worry, or to underestimating the significance of symptoms. Visiting your family doctor is the most important step in addressing breast concerns in children, women and men.

Breast lumps: Most breasts are not perfectly smooth. Some small irregularities are normal if they have been around unchanged for years. However, any new lump needs to be assessed by a doctor, who will decide if further tests are needed. Usually ultrasound and mammography are used to see if there is a reason for concern. A breast biopsy may be done at the radiology or breast clinic to make a diagnosis with more certainty. (A biopsy involves removing and examining a small sample of tissue.) On rare occasions, breast surgery may also be advised to get the final answer. Most lumps found by patients and doctors are not serious. They are caused by cysts, fibroadenomas (lumps of fibrous and gland tissue), other non-cancer breast tissue growths, and lipomas (fatty lumps). The minority of breast lumps are cancerous. In this case, appropriate treatment needs to be started swiftly. For this reason, all lumps need to be thoroughly checked.

Breast pain: Breast pain is common in women and some men also experience it. Pain may or may not be associated with a breast lump. Most breast pain occurs in response to natural hormone changes in the body. It also may be caused by hormone medications like birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy. Most women with breast pain feel discomfort in both breasts a week or so prior to their period. Many women have sensitive breasts due to fibrocystic breast changes. These breast lumps are not cancerous. In breastfeeding women, breast pain can happen due to engorgement or infection of a gland. Persistent breast pain can also be a sign of breast cancer.

Nipple inversion and retraction: When the nipple looks like it is pulled inward, it is considered to be inverted. If it seems like part of it is drawn in, or appears to have a slit, it is considered retracted. These nipple appearances may exist since birth and so are not a concern. Nipples can also retract with age as the ducts contract, or after inflammation due to infection. However, any new nipple change should be promptly checked by a doctor because it may also signal cancer.

Nipple discharge: Breasts are glands and will produce milky discharge during pregnancy and after delivery. They can also produce discharge after repetitive physical stimulation or as a side effect of some medications. Less commonly, it may be a symptom of internal disease affecting the body’s hormones. Bloody discharge and discharge limited to only one breast may be signs of breast cancer. See a doctor as soon as possible.

Breast problems in children

Some male and female newborns have breast gland enlargement during the first few weeks after birth. This is due to the mother’s hormones, and will go away. As breasts develop at the time of puberty, a breast bud may appear on only one side, before the other catches up. This is usually not a cause for concern, but should be evaluated by a doctor. Boys may also develop breast buds (gynecomastia) in puberty. This can last up to 18 months before disappearing. Breast enlargement in children before puberty, and more specifically, before age eight in girls, may be a sign of a health problem. This should be assessed by a doctor. Children can also develop a breast infection, especially after an injury.

Breast problems in men

Breast anatomy - male/femaleThe male breast area is composed of a small areola and nipple without any mammary gland prominence. When a man looks like he has breasts, fat deposits are usually the reason. Gynecomastia is a condition where the primitive mammary glands in the male breast are stimulated to grow. This may be a side effect of some medications, or another internal disorder. It should be checked by a doctor. Breast cancer in men is rare - only about one per cent of all breast cancer that is diagnosed. Breast cancer screening is not done routinely in men at any age, so it is important that men discuss any breast concerns with their doctors.

Breast health maintenance

The female breasts, being part of the skin, can be maintained by daily moisturizing and avoiding harsh cleansers. Both genders should avoid breast injury and nipple and areolar irritation that may lead to infections. Although no longer routinely advised, (see Breast is Best on page 21), both men and women should occasionally feel and inspect their breasts for new changes. All women with increased risk of developing breast cancer should have routine screening based on the latest guidelines and discussion with their doctor.

Medical research suggests that regular physical activity may reduce breast cancer risk, especially in women after menopause. As well, after three drinks a week, the more alcohol a woman drinks the greater her risk of breast cancer becomes. This is especially true if she is taking hormone replacement therapy. Smoking speeds the aging process of the entire body, and should be avoided for many reasons as well as to maintain breast health. Quitting smoking may reduce breast cancer risk as well. It has been shown to be paramount in cancer risk reduction of other organs and systems.

Dietary changes, including low fat diets, avoiding red and processed meat, or eating a soy-rich diet, may also reduce breast cancer risk. However, more research is needed. To date, caffeine consumption has not been linked with higher or lower breast cancer risk. Especially after menopause, women should keep their body mass index (BMI) below 30, as research shows strong evidence that obesity does increase the risk of breast cancer. Some research shows that breastfeeding for at least six months may give some protection from cancer as well.

Breast health research is wide and ongoing, and will surely provide us with more certainty in the future.

FAMILY HEALTH is written with the assistance of
Alberta College of Family Physicians
FAMILY HEALTH is written
with the assistance of
The College of Family Physicans of Canada
Alberta College of Family Physicians
While effort is made to reflect accepted medical knowledge and practice, articles in Family Health Online should not be relied upon for the treatment or management of any specified medical problem or concern and Family Health accepts no liability for reliance on the articles. For proper diagnosis and care, you should always consult your family physician promptly. © Copyright 2015, Family Health Magazine, a special publication of the Edmonton Journal, a division of Postmedia Network Inc., 10006 - 101 Street, Edmonton, AB T5J 2S6    [WH_FHc13]
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Active Living
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A Healthy Balance
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Introduction
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Canada Food Guide Revisited
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Dining Out
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The Discovery of Insulin
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Not Snoozing
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Tune up Your Diet
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Physiotherapy Visit
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5 Tips to Manage Weight
10 Ways to Cut Down on Fat
Battle the Bulge
Boost Your Bone Strength
Body Image
Breakfast is Important
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Building Your Bones
Celiac Disease
Challenging the Milk Myth
Diet Reality Check
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Eating Smarter & Cheaper
Energy Drinks
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Healthy Diet, Healthy Smile
Healthy Eating for Boomers and Zoomers
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Healthy Ethnic Meals
Fad Diets
Fruits & Veggies - 5-10 a Day
Fats
Fat Phobias
Fats & Cholesterol
Feeding Your Kids
Fibre
Food Chemistry 101
Food and Mood
Getting Kids to MOVE
Healthy Eating for Teens
Healthy Habits
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New Ingredients for Your Shopping Cart
Iron
Kid's Food
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Meal Planning with Planned Overs
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Night Snacking
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Essential Omega-3
Preventing Cancer Through Nutrition
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Power of Fruits & Veggies
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Survive and Thrive
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Tips for a SuperDiet
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Weight Wise Tips
Pharmacy Care
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After a Heart Attack
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Allergy Attack
Antibiotic Overuse
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Changing Role of the Pharmacist
Children's Cold Remedies
Child's Fever
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Cold Sores
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Expanding Role of Pharmacies
Eye Protection - Sunglasses
Feminine Hygiene
Generic or Name Brand?
Heartburn
Heart Health
Insomnia
Kids and Cold Medications
Medication Questions?
Metabolic Syndrome
Natural Medicines
New Blood Thinners
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Over-the-Counter Drugs
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OTC Pain Relief
Packing Medications for Travel
Pharmaceutical Studies
Preventing Summer Hazards
Research Studies
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Take as Directed
Using Antibiotics Wisely
Viagra
Vitamin D
Yeast Infections
Your Best Shot
Your Medicine Cupboard
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Accident Prevention
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Antibiotic Resistance
Backpack Pain
Bacteria Fight Back
Bedbugs
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Diseases from Pets
Caffeine
Cell Phones and Driving
Childhood Obesity
Cancer Prevention Tips
Chronic Disease Prevention
Cold and Flu Season
Disaster Planning
Diseases from Pets
Distracted Driving
Farm Safety for City Kids
Foodborne Illness
Flu Pandemic
The Flu and You
Heading Home for a Visit
Health Tips for Snowbirds
Hearing Loss and Music Players
H1N1 Virus - Plan Ahead
Household Mould
Infection Control
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Live Actively!
Insect Repellant
Keys to Preventing Cancer
Kids' Mental Health
Live Actively!
Low Birth Weight
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Are Pesticides Safe?
Preventing Burns and Scalds
Preventing Cancer through Nutrition
Quit Smoking 101
Respiratory Infections
Seniors and STIs
Should You Immunize?
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Surviving Disaster
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Teens, Drugs and Driving
Travel Health Considerations
Travel Medicine 101
Travel Tips
Type 2 Diabetes Prevention
Water Smarts
Vision Damage
Water Wisdom
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Whooping Cough
Workplace Alcohol Abuse
Women's Health
Full Listing with story descriptions
15 Great Reasons to Breastfeed
Anemia
Approaching Menopause
Birth Control
Breast Cancer Screening
Breast Cancer - Genetic Risks
Breast Cancer Self-Exam
Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines Changes
Breast Health
Breastfeeding Myths
Cervical Cancer Screening
Contraception
Contraception for Mature Women
Cosmetic Procedures
Cystitis
Endometriosis
Estrogen's Effect on the Brain
Fear of Fracture
Fibroids
Heart Attack
Hirsutism - Unwanted Hair
Hormone Replacement Therapy
The IUD
Menopause - What Men Should Know
Menstrual Bleeding - Abnormal
Menstrual Bleeding - Heavy
Menopause
Menstruation Myths
Menstrual Pain
Third Generation Birth Control Pills
Osteoporosis
Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian Cysts
Oral Contraction (The Pill)
Pap Test
Premenstrual Syndrome
xx
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Urinary Incontinence
Vaginitis
Varicose Veins
Viagra for Women
Yeast Infections
Your Pelvic Floor