Breast development occurs in distinct stages throughout a woman’s life, beginning before birth and continuing through puberty and the childbearing years. Changes also occur to the breasts again during menstruation and menopause, making the breasts one of the most commonly monitored and treated areas of the female body.
Because of the potential severity of health concerns related to the breasts, it is recommended that women routinely perform self-examinations to monitor changes or developments. Additionally, mammography continues to be the best screening tool available for diagnosis of breast cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends yearly mammograms starting at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health.