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  October Health News
   October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
  • What Every Woman Should Know About Breasts
  • When Your Mammogram is Abnormal
  • Eat Right for Better Oral Health
  • Source4Women:  Be More Productive
  • Test Your Health Care Knowledge: Enter to win a $500 Visa gift card!
  • Monthly Health Tip
  • Monthly Recipe
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What Every Woman Should
Know About Breasts

Get to know your breasts, plus what changes to pay attention to.


Every woman’s breasts are unique.  And many women notice changes in their breasts throughout their lives.  While sometimes these changes are a cause for concern, most breast changes don’t mean cancer or other problems.  Still, it’s important to know how your breasts normally look and feel.  If you know them well, you’ll be more likely to spot a potential problem early.

Breast Basics
Your breasts are made up of different types of tissue—glandular, connective and fatty.  Glandular tissue is made up of sections called lobes.  Each lobe is divided into smaller sections called lobules.  Lobules end in tiny bulbs that can produce milk.  Thin tubes called ducts connect the lobes and lobules.  These ducts can carry milk.  Connective tissue binds the lobules together while fatty tissue surrounds the lobules and ducts.

Your breasts also contain blood vessels and lymph vessels.  Lymph fluid travels in the lymph vessels to lymph nodes.  Lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped structures that filter lymph fluid and store white blood cells to help fight disease and infection.

Getting to know your breasts
Now that you know what your breasts are like on the inside, take some time to note what they look like and feel like on the outside.  This is called breast self-awareness.  It’s what the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) suggests for all women over the age of 20.

Breast self-awareness is not the same as a breast self-exam, which is no longer recommended.  In 2009, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) decided there was not enough evidence to show that breast self-exams helped find breast cancer.  Practicing breast self-awareness simply means you stay aware of how your breasts normally look and feel.  You don’t need to examine them in any specific way or at any certain time of the month.  You just need to know what is normal for your breasts.  Then you can tell if there are any changes in your breasts that don’t feel or look normal.

Breast changes to pay attention to
If you notice any of these changes in your breasts, you should see your doctor:

  • A lump in or near the breast or under your arm
  • Dimples, puckers, itching, redness or scaling in the breast skin
  • A nipple that turns in instead of sticking out
  • Discharge from the nipple (other than milk)
  • A change in the size or shape of a breast


Factors that contribute to breast changes
If you notice any unusual changes in your breasts and you’ve made an appointment to see your doctor, don’t panic while you’re waiting for that appointment.  Most breast changes are not cancer.  There are many reasons due to hormones and the normal aging process that can explain why you may notice changes in your breasts.  They include:

  • Menstrual periods.  Your breasts may feel tender, painful or swollen before or during your period.  You might also notice one or more lumps in your breasts.  Normally, these changes should go away at the end of your cycle.
  • Pregnancy.  You may feel fullness in your breasts during pregnancy.  Usually this is because the glands producing milk are getting bigger and increasing in number.
  • Breastfeeding.  Mastitis, or when a milk duct becomes blocked, can happen while breastfeeding.  It may be caused by an infection and can often be treated with antibiotics.  It can cause your breast to look red and feel lumpy, tender and warm.
  • Menopause.  Before menopause (when your menstrual periods stop), your breasts may feel lumpy and tender due to hormone changes.  Usually, women no longer experience these breast changes once hormone levels drop, but remember to report ANY lump to your doctor.
  • If you are taking hormones.  Birth control pills or injections and menopausal hormone therapy may make your breasts denser.


Don’t miss mammograms
If you’re worried about cancer, don’t forget that mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early.  And finding breast cancer early means you will have the best chance of being treated successfully.

The USPSTF recommends women ages 50 to 74 get a mammogram every two years.  Women under 50 who have a family history of breast cancer or other risk factors should consult with their doctor to see if a mammogram and/or additional screening is appropriate for them.

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When Your Mammogram is Abnormal

It doesn’t mean that you have cancer.  Here’s what to expect.


One of the scariest things a woman can hear is that her mammogram shows a suspicious mass in her breast.  That news can shake a woman’s sense of wellbeing—even after further testing fails to find breast cancer.

A screening mammogram checks for breast cancer in someone without symptoms.  Diagnostic mammograms are done in people who have a lump or have other signs or symptoms that the disease has been found.

At their best, screening mammograms find breast cancer early.  But an abnormal result by itself does not mean cancer.  It just means that follow-up testing is needed.  In many cases, the abnormal mammogram turns out to be a false alarm.

What tests are done after an abnormal mammogram?
Tests that may be done after an abnormal mammogram include:

  • Ultrasound of the breast.  This can show more detailed pictures of the breast tissue.
  • Diagnostic mammography.  In most cases, two pictures of each breast are taken for a screening mammogram.  For a diagnostic mammogram, many more pictures are made of the breast.  They focus on the area of concern.
  • Biopsy.  This procedure removes fluid or tissue that is checked for cancer cells.  Tissue may be removed using surgery or a needle.  A biopsy is the only sure way to diagnose breast cancer.  About 8 out of 10 breast changes that are biopsied are found to be non-cancerous.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).  This imaging test may be used if breast cancer is detected or for women at high risk for breast cancer.  An MRI can help doctors measure the size of the cancer and find any other tumors.


The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has not made a recommendation about clinical breast exams and MRIs saying there isn’t enough evidence to determine any extra benefits or harms from these two procedures.

When should I get a screening mammogram?
The USPSTF recommends that women under 50 talk to their doctors about the best screening schedule for them and that women between 50 and 74 get mammograms every two years.

Other health experts have different recommendations.  The National Cancer Institute recommends that women over age 40 have a screening mammogram every one or two years.  The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Cancer Society recommend that women get annual screenings starting at age 40.  The American Cancer Society says that if you have certain risk factors for breast cancer that put you at high risk, your doctor may recommend that you start getting mammograms starting at age 30 and have them more often. 

When to start and how often you should get a mammogram is a decision that you should make after consulting with your doctor.

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Eat Right for Better Oral Health

Eating right and the health of your mouth go hand in hand. 

How does the food we eat affect our teeth and gums?
If your diet isn’t rich in vitamins, it can affect your ability to fight infection.  This may lead to tooth decay and gum disease.  With a healthy diet, your body will get the right vitamins and minerals. These nutrients will help keep your teeth and gums healthy:



Found in:



Milk, yogurt, beans and cheese

Helps to strengthen your teeth to fight tooth decay and to prevent gum disease


Red meat, liver and bran cereals

Lack of iron can cause tongue swelling and mouth sores

Vitamin B3

Chicken and fish

Without enough B3, you can develop bad breath and mouth sores

Vitamins B12 and B2

Meat and dairy products have B12.  Pasta, bread and spinach have B2.

A lack of B12 and B2 can cause mouth sores.

Vitamin C

Peppers, dark leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, oranges and strawberries

Helps prevent gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease


Limit foods that harm your teeth and gums.

Many of the foods we eat can cause damage to teeth and gums over time:

  • Carbohydrates:  Chips, crackers and pasta leave particles that allow germs such as bacteria to grow.
  • Sticky foods:  Chewy candy, raisins and syrup coat the teeth.  This makes it hard for saliva to wash away the sugar.
  • Sugary foods:  Candy, cookies and cakes have lots of sugar.  Sugar produces acid.
  • Soda and sweetened fruit juices:  These beverages are filled with sugar.  Soda includes acid and carbonation that cause decay.


Eat a balanced diet and take care of your mouth.  You’ll have a beautiful smile to show the world.

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Source4Women Seminar


Be More Productive

Audrey Thomas, Organized Audrey
October 11, 2016
12:30 p.m. ET, 11:30 a.m. CT, 10:30 a.m. MT, 9:30 a.m. PT

Productivity is a hot button these days because most admit to feelings of insanity when balancing home, work and life. You may think to yourself, “If I could just be a little more productive, then I wouldn’t feel all this stress.” Sometimes it is the little things in life that can make a big difference. This webinar will provide 10 strategies that most people aren’t implementing that are designed to increase personal productivity – both at home and at work – so that you can enjoy life in the sane lane.


To register for an upcoming Source4Women online seminar, visit www.source4women.com and click on "Online Seminars & Events." All seminars are recorded and archived for viewing after the live seminar date.

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Test Your Health Care Knowledge!

Test your health care knowledge with two October activities:


  • Are you a health plan pro? Take a quiz. See if the stars say you’re ready to choose a health plan.
  • What’s the word? Complete a crossword puzzle and learn common health care terms for open enrollment. 


Participate in one or more of the activities for a chance to win a $500 Visa gift card!  Click here to get started!  

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breast cancer screening
October Health Tip


Click here to access the recommendation summary on the USPSTF guidelines for breast cancer screening and here for an explanation of the 5 different letter grade definitions for screening guidelines.

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October Healthy Recipe:
Buttermilk Chicken and Cornflake Bake



2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-in. pieces

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 large carrots, cut into 1/4-in. pieces

1 large onion, chopped

Kosher salt

1 tsp Cajun or blackening seasoning (no salt added)

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup orange juice

1 14.5-oz can low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup frozen peas

2 Tbsp. roughly chopped fresh dill

1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 1/2 cups cornflakes


  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Place the chicken in a large pot. Add enough water to cover and bring to a boil (about 10 minutes). Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots, onion and 1/2 tsp salt and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the Cajun seasoning.
  3. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Gradually stir in the orange juice, then the broth; bring to a boil. Add the chicken, peas, dill and half the parsley and stir to combine. Remove from heat and stir in the buttermilk.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a 2 1/2- to 3-quart baking dish and bake for 15 minutes. In a medium bowl, combine the cornflakes and the remaining parsley. Sprinkle over the chicken mixture and bake 5 minutes more. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Yield: 8 servings


Nutrition Facts:

Calories: 258 
Fat: 7g
Saturated Fat: 1g
Cholesterol: 68mg
Sodium: 353mg
Carbohydrates: 20g
Dietary Fiber: 2g
Protein: 29g


From the Food Editors of Woman's Day.

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