With aging, a woman's breasts lose tissue and subcutaneous fat, reducing breast size and fullness. There is also a decrease in the number of mammary glands, which the body replaces with fat tissue. These changes make the breast less firm. The breasts lose support.
Aging breasts commonly flatten and sag, and the nipple may turn in slightly. The area surrounding the nipple (the areola) becomes smaller and may nearly disappear. Loss of hair around the nipple is common.
As you grow older breasts may change in size. Lumps are common around the time of menopause. These often turn out to be benign cysts.
Breast cancer risk increases with age. Women should perform monthly breast self-examinations. However, because breast self-exams do not always pick up early stages of breast cancer, women should also talk to their health care provider about mammograms.
Review Date: 10/27/2008
Reviewed By: Michael Langan, M.D. Department of Geriatrics, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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