What are the normal stages of breast development?

Assoc. Prof. Didem Öncel Yakar

Dr Öncel Yakar’s comments

Breast development covers a long period that begins in the womb and is completed with breastfeeding. Nipple and milk ducts begin to form in the 6th week of the intra-uterine period. In adolescence, with the effect of estrogen hormone released from the ovaries, fat accumulation begins and the breasts enlarge. With the menstrual period, milk glands appear at the end of the milk ducts. This development rate follows a different process in each individual. Breast development is completed with pregnancy and lactation. Breast development in non-breastfeeding women is deemed incomplete. By entering the peri-menopausal period as of the early fifties, loss of elasticity and sagging occurs in the breast tissue due to the changes in estrogen and progesterone hormones. Each woman should be acquainted with breast self-examination to detect any pathologies during these life-long changes.

Breast health plays an important role in every woman’s life. This is based on the facts that breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and that early diagnosis and treatment significantly increase life expectancy thanks to screening methods. While stricter follow-up and examination protocols are applied for women with certain risk factors, women with no risk factors should also have breast screenings regularly. Standard breast screening guidelines recommend that women should perform breast self-examination from the age of 20, and additionally, from the age of 40, breast imaging with clinical examination and mammography once a year. In this section, especially in the twenty-fifth year of her profession and as a female surgeon, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Didem Öncel Yakar answers questions frequently asked by you. We are with you to manage your routine annual screenings and appropriate examination-surgery-treatment processes at our private practice located in Ataşehir-Istanbul.