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5 Things Teen Girls Need to Know About Breast Health

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  • Written By: Diane Rabalais, WHNP, APRN-CNP
5 Things Teen Girls Need to Know About Breast Health

As a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, I care for women through all stages of life, including the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Through candid conversations and education, I empower young women to take charge of their bodies and their health. I encourage conversations about breast health early on and here are 5 questions I hear most often.

I’m still a teenager. Do I really need to worry about breast health now?

Breast health and breast self-awareness are important topics for women of every age. Why? Because learning about breast health now can empower you with knowledge to understand your breast health in the future.
Shouldn’t a doctor be the one to exam my breasts and let me know if there is a problem?

Clinical breast exams with a health care provider generally aren’t recommended until you are 25 years old. Yet, you shouldn’t wait for a clinical exam to get to know your breasts. Why? Because 80% of breast cancers detected in young women are found by the women themselves. 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime and 5% of those women will be under 40. Although those statistics can be scary, we know that when breast cancer is caught early, it is treatable and manageable. That’s why breast self-awareness is so important.
So, what is breast self-awareness?

It’s simple. It’s a woman’s awareness of how her breasts normally look and feel. It’s about knowing your body so you can tell when something isn’t right, and if you notice a change, you can take charge of your health.
Getting to know your breasts is as easy as taking a few minutes while showering or getting dressed to become familiar with what’s normal for you.
What am I looking for when getting to know my normal?

Your breast tissue extends from your collarbone, into your breast bone, under your arms, all the way back around to your collarbone. Look at and touch all of these areas when getting to know your breasts. Don’t forget to look at them from different angles, too.
These are the changes to be on the lookout for: 


Dimpling/Puckering of the breast area or nipple.

Rash/Itchy, Scaly Sore on or around your nipples.

Swelling/Redness or Darkening

Discharge from nipples without squeezing or that is bloody, brown or clear.
Breast Changes to look for

What should I do if I notice any changes?

Never ignore a change to your breast, nipple or the skin near your breasts. If you notice anything that concerns you, speak with your parent or someone you trust so they can help you to schedule an appointment with a health care provider. 

Breast self-awareness is a powerful tool in taking charge of your health. When you know your normal, it’s easier to notice small changes and catch a potential problem early on. As an expert on your body, you are the perfect person to speak up when and if there is ever a concern. Don’t wait to be breast self-aware – get to know your girls now.

Diane Rabalais, WHNP, APRN-CNP is a nurse practitioner at Magnolia Obstetrics & Gynecology, where she provides health care for women through all stages of life. Diane’s approach to patient care is centered on kindness. She believes that kindness and an open ear are the best tools for creating a space for the candid conversations that make a difference in her patients’ health.

Diane began her nursing career in Labor & Delivery at North Oaks Medical Center, where she worked for 10 years before becoming a certified women’s health nurse practitioner. A lover of the outdoors, Diane’s favorite past times include four-wheeling, fishing and camping with her family. Get to know more about Diane at