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ageing changes in the breast

Alternative Names
age-related changes in the breast

As a woman ages, her breasts normally change in certain ways.

What is the information for this topic?
As a woman gets beyond menopause, her breasts begin to change. These changes often include:
  • a loss of fullness in the breasts
  • sagging and flattening of the breasts
  • a decrease in the size of the nipples
  • a decreased ability of the nipples to respond to stimulation
  • replacement of milk-producing breast glands with fat
Other changes in the breast may be abnormal. The risk of breast cancer rises with age. When caught early, breast cancer often responds to treatment. A woman should examine her breasts once a month. Self-examinations help a woman learn how her breasts normally feel. Any lumps or changes should be reported to a doctor.

A woman should discuss the best schedule of mammograms for her. The best schedule for mammograms is often related to a woman's risk factors for getting breast cancer. For example, if breast cancer runs in the family, earlier and more frequent mammograms may be advised.

Author: James Broomfield, MD
Reviewer: HealthAnswers Australia Medical Review Panel
Editor: Dr David Taylor, Chief Medical Officer HealthAnswers Australia
Last Updated: 1/10/2001
Potential conflict of interest information for reviewers available on request

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