breast cancer

The Importance of Breast Cancer Examinations

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and our clinic in Irving is doing its part to raise awareness on this terrible disease. Breast cancer will affect nearly 1 in 8 women in their lifetimes. Each year, doctors diagnose nearly 250,000 cases of breast cancer, one of the leading causes of death in women. Regular breast examinations can go a long way in helping to detect breast cancer early so that doctors can provide you with the best treatments.

Women should also schedule regular appointments with our Irving doctors. On top of simply checking your overall health, doctors will ask you questions and look for any indicators of cancer as well as other common diseases. A great tip for women and men alike is to schedule a doctor’s appointment for the same day near your birthday. That way, you never forget to see the doctor and you can go through the year feeling confident about your long-term health.

Women can conduct breast cancer self-examinations at home. Breast examinations should be conducted in two ways: by look and feel.

Look: using a mirror, inspect the breast for odd colorings, visible lumps, pulls, or dents. You should examine your breasts from a few different angles. Lean forward, put your arms on your hips, stand upright, and stand with both arms above your head. If you are uncertain exactly what you are looking for, you can compare one breast to the other, as they should look similar.

Feel: most women tend to conduct this part of the exam in the shower, as the water helps fingers move easily across the skin. Women should try to feel for any lumps, pain, or tenderness. When feeling for abnormalities, use the pads of the fingers and not the tips. Women should also try to feel their breasts in a few different angles, and check different parts of the breasts.

A few other things to remember: any abnormality of the nipple should be cause to see a doctor; because there is not much tissue underneath the nipple, a lump there should be cause for concern. Discharge of the nipples may also be cause for concern; however, consult with your doctor, as this is not always a sign of cancer. When in doubt, always talk to your doctor. It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to cancer.

Women should conduct a self-examination every month. However, self-examination is not a substitute for a mammogram. Women should still regularly see their doctor for a mammogram, as this procedure offers much more certainty.

prenatal_health

Prenatal Health Tips: How to Improve Life Before Birth

Parents want the best for their children, but did you know that scientists, doctors, and researchers are discovering ways that mothers can help their children before they’re even born? The latest prenatal health tips and studies are demonstrating that a mother can give their children a positive start by choosing healthy habits and taking care of herself.

In a study conducted by King’s College London, researchers discovered that women who displayed signs of depression during their pregnancy were likely to give birth to children who scored lower on cognitive tests later in life (specifically, researchers surveyed test scores of children at 8 years  of age). Researchers also found a link to a mother’s nutrition and her children’s cognitive functions.

The study looked at nearly 7,000 mothers and their children; each pair was looked at 5 times, starting at 18 weeks before birth and when the child turned 33 months old. During this time period, mothers were asked to complete a food questionnaire to also see how their diets may have effected their children. What researchers found was that mothers who improved their diets not only had a chance to ease symptoms of depression, but also helped “reduce risk for atypical fetal development,” according to lead author Edward D. Barker.

A different study, led by Felice Jacka from Deak University and University of Melbourne, supports these findings and establishes “a link between poor prenatal diet and behavioral problems in children.”

Researchers caution that until more tests and research are conducted, researchers can only claim correlation between nutritional health, depression, and child development. They also temper the findings by saying that a child’s development is not necessarily severely hindered by a mother’s depression or nutritional diet.

Regardless, mothers expecting a child will gain a better quality of life by being proactive with their mental health and eating a good diet, packed with nutrient-rich foods and avoiding excessive amounts of salt, bad fats, and sugars. Mothers might help their child get a better start and also enjoy the benefits of a healthier lifestyle.

Expecting a child? The OB GYNs at MSCI can help you make the right prenatal health decisions during your pregnancy. Contact our physicians today and schedule an appointment.