Protecting Your Breasts After 50: Proactive Steps for Breast Health

Show Notes


Valerie discusses breast health and cancer screening awareness in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. She emphasizes the increased risk of breast cancer as women age and the importance of regular self-checks and mammograms. She also provides lifestyle habits that can help prioritize breast health, such as maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, managing stress, limiting alcohol consumption, and knowing family history. Valerie encourages women to be proactive about their breast health and to support others by sharing their stories, offering emotional support, and getting involved in breast cancer awareness organizations.


00:00 Introduction to the podcast “Aging with Grace and Style”

00:54 Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the increased risk with age

03:23 Importance of monthly self-exams for early detection

05:08 Personal experience with finding a lump and getting it checked

07:13 Story of a woman who found early stage breast cancer through a mammogram

07:54 Importance of mammograms and their limitations with dense breasts

09:52 Overcoming the “it can’t happen to me” mindset

11:59 Ways to support breast cancer awareness and those affected

13:06 Wrap up on the importance of breast care after 50

14:01 Conclusion and call to action for proactive measures and community support

Key Takeaways:

  • Breast cancer risk increases with age, and regular screening is crucial for early detection.
  • Monthly self-exams are important for detecting any changes or abnormalities in the breasts.
  • Mammograms are recommended every one to two years for women aged 50 to 74, but individual risk factors should be considered.
  • Lifestyle habits, such as maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, managing stress, limiting alcohol consumption, and knowing family history, can help reduce breast cancer risk.
  • Community support and involvement in breast cancer awareness organizations are essential for spreading awareness and ensuring access to breast health care.

 Connect with Valerie:

* Facebook, Instagram, and Threads @iamvaleriehatcher.  

* Email at

Join Us Next Time:

If you enjoyed this episode please rate and review. Don’t forget to subscribe so you never miss an episode! 

Stay tuned for more inspiring chats, tips, and stories about the midlife journey.

See you soon! Let’s continue to age with grace, style, and a touch of sass.


[00:00] You. Hello, beautiful ladies. Welcome to Aging with Grace and Style.

[00:08] The podcast where we celebrate the journey.

[00:10] Of growing older with grace, style and.

[00:13] A touch of sass.

[00:15] I'm your host, Valerie Hatcher, and I'm excited to have you join our community of fabulous women over 50, challenging age stereotypes and redefining what success looks like. Each episode, we'll chat about topics aimed to help you thrive in every aspect of life. So if you're in your car, turn up the volume. Or if you're home, grab your favorite.

[00:37] Beverage and get ready for today's episode. Together, let's show the world that age.

[00:42] Is just a number when it comes.

[00:44] To grace and style. Ready for today's episode?

[00:48] Then let's go.

[00:54] Well, October is in full swing, and it brings with it more than just pumpkin spice lattes. It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As women over 50, we need to be especially vigilant. Today, I wanted to dedicate a heartfelt episode to breast health and cancer screening awareness. We'll talk about why our risk increases as we age, the importance of self-checks, mammograms, and lifestyle habits that we can adopt to prioritize our breast health. My goal is to provide you with practical tips and information to be proactive about breast care. Many of them you might already know, but sometimes it doesn't hurt to be reminded. So let's dive in. Breast Cancer Risk Increases with Age first off, did you know that breast cancer is the most common cancer amongst American women, second only to skin cancers? And here's a fact that might surprise you nearly eight out of ten invasive breast cancers are found in women age 50 or older. As we age, our risks continue to climb. I recently read that a 60-year-old woman's risk is double that of someone who's 50. This happens in part because our cells are more likely to change in abnormal ways over time. In some cases, it can simply be because unhealthy lifestyle habits have had more time to catch up with us. Smoking, consuming alcohol in excess, and being sedentary or overweight, particularly after menopause all influence breast cancer risk. I also learned that entering menopause after age 55 can increase breast cancer risk because the woman has had more menstrual cycles, increasing her lifetime exposure to estrogen and progesterone. Given that we're living longer, more vibrant lives, this makes regular screening and early detection even more crucial. Taking Charge with Monthly Self-Exams one way we can take breast health into our own hands, no pun intended is by doing monthly self-exams. We've all heard about self-exams, but.

[03:32] How many of us consistently do them? Taking a few minutes every month can make a world of difference.

[03:39] Here's a quick guide best Time for those who have not gone through menopause, the best time is right after your period ends. For those of us who are postmenopausal, it's recommended that a breast self-exam should be performed on the same day of each month, such as, like, the.

[03:59] First or the 15th of the month.

[04:01] Or whatever day makes sense for you how? In the shower, use your soapy hands to check both breast for any lumps or changes. Gently press around each breast from top to bottom, side to side. Check the entire breast area up to the collarbones. Now, I can say I was guilty of not checking up to the collarbone. And you should also check under your arms and what to look for. Unusual lumps, changes in size or shape, and any nipple discharge or inversion. Being familiar with your breast means you're more likely to catch any changes early on. And remember, if you spot anything unusual, don't hesitate. Reach out to your doctor immediately. You know, speaking of self-exams, I want to share a personal experience that underscores the importance of paying attention to our bodies. So, one evening, as I was getting ready for a shower, I felt something unusual.

[05:08] There was a lump.

[05:10] And what was even more concerning was that it was visible through the skin. I mean, I literally just brushed my hand against my breast, and I felt it. Now, I'll admit, I immediately turned to Dr. Google, and from my findings, I thought it might be a cyst, especially given that I have dense breast. But I wasn't about to take any chances. I consulted my gynecologist, and he immediately recommended a diagnostic mammogram. This was all happening right before my son's wedding, and I was a nervous wreck. I had a diagnostic mammogram, and that was followed by an ultrasound. And even though the radiologist believed it was benign, she still had me return for a needle biopsy to be certain. The final result? It was a cyst. I went back three months later, and I had another mammogram. In the meantime, I felt another cyst. But again, all was fine. But here's the thing. Even after being given the all clear, every time I feel something unusual or go for a mammogram, I can't help but feel a bit nervous. It's a stark reminder that while most lumps or changes might turn out to be harmless, it's always better to err on the side of caution. Our health is invaluable, and it's crucial to be proactive and attentive.

[06:51] Let's talk about the unsung heroes, the medical professionals. I can't help but think of Dr. June, who is a radiologist who's seen thousands of mammograms in her career. One particular case, she said, that stands out for her is there is a woman who came in in her early 50s. She was convinced that the tiny irregularity.

[07:13] She felt was nothing.

[07:14] But Dr. June, with her trained eye, noticed something on the mammogram that warranted a second look. It turned out to be a very early-stage tumor. The woman was grateful, of course, but Dr. June, she said it was a reminder of why she does what she does. For every diagnosis she gives, there's a life that gets a fighting chance. We've touched on self-exams, but there's another essential tool in our breast health toolkit.

[07:52] It's mammograms.

[07:53] The US.

[07:54] Preventative Services Task Force recommends women aged 50 to 74 get mammograms every one to two years. Now, talk to your doctor about your personal risk factors.

[08:07] If you have family history or other.

[08:09] Concerns, then your doctor may recommend annual screenings. Mine are actually annual, you probably already know. But I'm not going to assume the process of a mammogram involves compressing. More like smashing the breast between two plates.

[08:28] For x ray imaging.

[08:30] They generally do several views. It's uncomfortable but is crucial for early detection. I, like many women, have dense breast. Now, dense breast affects about 50% of women in their forty s, forty percent of women in their fifty s and twenty five percent of women over 60. Dense tissue appears to be white on.

[08:56] A mammogram, as does cancer.

[08:59] And in some cases, mammograms miss tumors. In others, they mistake the dense breast tissue for a tumor, resulting in extra test and worry. I've been called back for additional images.

[09:12] Several times because of my dense breast. And yes, it's nerve wracking.

[09:17] Now, several states, Texas being one of them, have mandated that women be provided information on their breast density so that.

[09:25] They know this limitation of mammography.

[09:29] With advancements like 3D mammography, we're now getting clearer, more detailed images. Trust me, I know mammograms aren't fun. But early detection is worth the momentary discomfort.

[09:42] We have to put our health first.

[09:52] It can't happen to me Mindset there are so many stories out there. I was in the mammography center talking, as I so often do, to a.

[10:03] Woman that was in the waiting area.

[10:06] She said she thought that she was the epitome of health breast cancer.

[10:11] It can't happen to me, she thought.

[10:13] Yet during a routine checkup, her doctor found early-stage breast cancer. Her story serves as a stark reminder that sometimes our belief in invincibility can be our biggest blind spot. While we can't control everything or fully prevent breast cancer, our lifestyle choices can play a significant role in breast health. Some tips include one eating a nutrient rich diet focusing on fruits, veggies, and whole grains, as well as limiting sugary and processed foods. Two, regular exercise to help keep your immune system strong. Aim for about 150 minutes per week. Three, get enough sleep and learn how to manage stress. Did you know that chronic stress weakens the immune system? Four, limit alcohol. Five, maintain a healthy BMI. Being overweight after menopause can increase our risk. Six know your family history. Genetics influence about five to 10% of breast cancers. But don't think just because there's no.

[11:37] Family history means that you cannot be affected.

[11:41] And seven, don't ignore new signs or symptoms such as nipple discharge, breast pain, skin changes.

[11:51] See your doctor promptly. You there's.

[11:59] Power in Community I encourage everyone to.

[12:03] Get involved in spreading breast cancer awareness.

[12:06] Here are ways we can support others. Share your own breast cancer screening story.

[12:11] With friends and family.

[12:13] Our stories have power and can motivate.

[12:15] Others to schedule their mammogram.

[12:18] If you know someone diagnosed with breast cancer, offer meals, rides, help with errands, call them. Send them a text just to let them know you're thinking of them. Emotional support makes a huge difference. Get involved with organizations like the Breast Cancer Foundation and Susan G. Coleman volunteer or participate in fundraisers. We want to make sure all women.

[12:45] Have access to breast health care.

[12:48] If you're aware of underprivileged women who do not have insurance or funding for mammograms, I've listed resources in the show.

[12:57] Notes which may help.

[13:03] You. I hope this overview serves as a.

[13:06] Reminder of the importance of breast care as we age.

[13:09] To wrap up. Breast care, especially after 50, is all about proactive measures, early detection, and community support. Breast cancer risk rises steadily in our fifty s and beyond. That's why screening exams and lifestyle habits are so critical.

[13:29] While you and I may be taking.

[13:30] Necessary precautions, let's continue this conversation and ensure the women in our lives are also taking action for their health. Remember, together we can make a difference. As always, if you have questions or stories to share, I'm here to listen. Wishing you all good health and until next time, keep aging with grace and style. Thank you so much for tuning in and spending this time with me. If you haven't already done so, please.

[14:01] Subscribe so that you don't miss an episode.

[14:03] If you enjoyed today's segment, please rate, review, and share it with a friend. Let's stay connected. It on Instagram, Facebook and or threads at I am Valerie Hatcher or email me at Until next time, remember to embrace your age with grace, style and a touch of sass.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.