BREAST HEALTH CARE: A Review

Authors

  • William F. McCool CNM, PhD,

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    • Bill McCool received his midwifery training at the Medical University of South Carolina. He is currently a faculty member in the Nurse-Midwifery Program at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Nursing, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

  • Margot Stone-Condry CNM, MSN,

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    • Margot Stone-Condry received her master's degree in midwifery at Yale School of Nursing. She currently is in midwifery practice at the Hill Health Center in New Haven, Connecticut.

  • Heather M. Bradford BA

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    • Heather Bradford has a BA in sociology from Boston College. She is currently in the BSN/MSN Nurse-Midwifery Program at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Nursing, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, 420 Guardian Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

ABSTRACT

Breast health care was rarely acknowledged in the health and science fields prior to this century and has only begun, in recent years, to receive attention outside of pregnancy/lactation or cancer screening and treatment. Yet much health care is involved with regard to this reproductive and sexual organ. With any group of clients, practitioners of women's health care must address an assortment of breast health matters. This article offers an overview of the history of breast health care, the epidemiology of benign breast conditions and cancer, the anatomy and physiology of the breast, and breast development over the lifespan. Also presented are a review of breast assessment and examination, suggestions for routine care of the breast, and an overview of major health issues related to this reproductive organ. Health issues addressed include, among others, nodular and cystic changes, nipple discharge, breast/nipple pain, mastitis, elective alterations, and cancer. Discussion is focused on the latest approaches to optimal breast health care.

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