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What are boobs?

Boobs, breasts, tits, mammary glands, bosoms, bust, rack… whatever you call them, what are they? Simply put, boobs are the fatty tissue found in the chest region, laying over top of the pectoral muscles and found most typically in a pair, each with a nipple. Everyone has breast tissue, although for many AFAB the breast tissue will develop further during puberty as well as glands that are capable of producing milk.

Assigned Female at Birth (AFAB) Boobs:

Common Conditions and Disorders

According to the Cleveland Clinic, approximately 1 in 8 women receive a breast cancer diagnosis in their lifetime, making it the number one threat to breast health. Other conditions include:

How to Keep Track of Your Breast Health

Mammograms play a key role in detecting breast cancer early. A mammogram is an x-ray that allows doctors to look for abnormal changes in breast tissue. While recommendations vary depending on risk factors, Mayo Clinic recommends that at age forty, women should get their first screening and continue to do so annually. Self breast exams can familiarize you with how your breasts look and feel so you can detect potential problems easier.

How to Self-Conduct a Breast Exam:

Step 1: Look at breasts in the mirror with shoulders straight and arms on your hips

Look for:

If you see any of the following, consult a doctor:

Step 2: Raise your arms and look for the same changes

Step 3: Look for signs of fluid coming out of one or both nipples (could be watery, milky, or yellow fluid or blood)

Step 4: Feel breasts while laying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast and visa-versa. Use a firm touch with the pads of your fingers while keeping the fingers flat and together. In a circular motion, cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side-to-side. Go from the collarbone to the top of the abdomen and from the armpit to cleavage.

Feel for:

Step 5: Feel the breasts while standing or sitting. Cover entire breast using same hand movements described in step 4, feeling for any unusual lumps.

Assigned Male at Birth (AMAB) Boobs:

During puberty, high testosterone and low estrogen levels stop breast development. However, the anatomy is still made up of:

Health Concerns:

While breast cancer can still occur, it is far more rare in boobs with less developed breast tissue. A more common condition is gynecomastia in which the breast tissue becomes enlarged (usually caused by hormone imbalances). While gynecomastia is usually benign and reversible, it is important to see your doctor to check for any underlying diseases.

Sources: Breast Anatomy, Cancer.org, Breast Self Exam, Harvard Health