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Episode 19 | Understanding Breast Health: A Guide for Everyone!

Join us for an informative discussion about the importance of self-breast awareness, early detection methods, and the significant impact they have on saving lives.

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Podcast Transcript

Understanding Breast Health: A Guide for Everyone!

Self Breast Awareness and Early Detection Can Save Lives

[00:00:00] Welcome to the Holistic Health Show, where the worlds of science and spirituality converge to illuminate a path towards total well being. Join us as we embark on a journey to bridge the gap between Western medicine and complementary therapies, offering you a roadmap to embrace a proactive, holistic approach to your health.

[00:00:21] It's time to empower yourself with choices that nurture your body, mind, and soul. Welcome to a world of infinite possibilities for your optimal health.

[00:00:31] Amy Squires: Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the Holistic Health Show. Thanks again for joining us today. And today, joining us from Pakistan, we have Dr. Jawad Mustafa, and he's here to talk to us about breast health. So I'm very keen. I act, you know, despite being a woman myself, I don't know much about the prevention of different illnesses and diseases that can manifest in the breast.

[00:00:54] Amy Squires: So I'm excited to learn about this today. And I hope that everyone will get something really valuable [00:01:00] from it. Thank you for joining Dr. Jawad Mustafa.

[00:01:04] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: Thank you for the opportunity.

[00:01:06] Amy Squires: I'd love to have you just jump right in, tell us a little bit about your professional background if you don't mind.

[00:01:12] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: I'm Dr. Jawad. I have been practicing for about 17 years. After graduation, I did my MPhil in obstetrical and gynecological ultrasound and in my own clinical setup, our family setup, I've been doing providing clinical facilities along with the diagnostic ultrasound facilities. And for, as my major is in obstetrical and gynecological ultrasound, so for a few years, you can say particularly for three to four years, I've been more focusing on breast health, breast cancer awareness, along with diagnosis and offering special diagnostic ultrasound facility to increase the detection of any breast health issues, breast cancer.

[00:01:53] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: So, that's why I have initiated my own. Breast Cancer awareness campaign. Also an [00:02:00] organization, it's a non-funded organization, so our main objective is to promote breast health awareness to those who are not in the screened group, because mostly women are screened after the age of 40 years by using mammograms and all that.

[00:02:15] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: But this before this age for 14 to 15 years of age, still the 39 years of age, this age group is not mostly screened. So, the purpose is to educate those females, those women, those young girls about methods and ways in which they can care for themselves, prevent themselves from breast cancer. But there are many other aspects of breast health.

[00:02:37] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: So the main focus and objective is on awareness, guidance, and teaching them and coaching them effective ways so they can empower themselves. So to reduce the risk factors.

[00:02:52] Amy Squires: And I'm just thinking as you're talking there, you know, as a woman, I'm 37 now and so I've never had a mammogram because I'm not, I'm [00:03:00] not over 40 yet.

[00:03:01] Amy Squires: So as far as I've been told by my GP is that I don't need to do that. And aside from, you know, you, As, and I'm sure I speak to many other women my age and, and perhaps younger, you know, you go and do your regular gynecological gynecological checkups and you might have a really brief breast exam by your GP, your family doctor.

[00:03:20] Amy Squires: But other than that, I am, upon reflection, I don't think of, I can't recall any sort of Yeah, I don't think I've ever had any conversations really around breast health, and I have always just relied on, you know what, I'm not old enough yet, I don't have to have a mammogram. So I can, as someone who's quite into you know, health and being very holistic about my health, I am a little ashamed to say that I, I don't think I've had any real breast health attention.

[00:03:52] Amy Squires: Where would one start and at what age should one be kind of bringing this to their attention?

[00:03:58] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: Just a short question. Do you [00:04:00] think Cancer will wait for a woman to be of 40 years after that the cancer will hit her

[00:04:07] Amy Squires: Absolutely. And I, it's interesting because I know women who have developed breast cancer at quite a young age, you know, and I have learned to do self exams.

[00:04:18] Amy Squires: So I have been across that. I mean, how skilled I am at that, I don't really don't know, but aside from really being told, do a self exam. And if you notice anything abnormal, like a hard lump, then everything else is kind of fine. This

[00:04:35] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: is the whole thing. This is the whole concept behind my. This effort in this whole campaign, there are so many aspects of breast health, which nobody's talking about, especially the healthcare systems.

[00:04:49] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: They only talk about any disease process. They only entertain you when you are sick. They don't give you proper information, proper guidance regarding how you [00:05:00] can reduce the risk factors, how you can adopt those changes, which Will not have make you show up at our clinic. That's right. This is the whole thing that if you are not in that particular age group, then there is no you can say no system to guide any female.

[00:05:19] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: You are in a holistic health you can say profession or you have this education regarding all this. But think of those billions of females. We don't have this kind of access to healthcare facilities, healthcare information and particularly their own health. So for all those females, there is only two option available.

[00:05:41] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: Either their GP or their gynecologist will examine them or they will get screening process after the age of 37 or 40 years, whatever is applicable in any country. So in this all time period, when a female starts to develop breast cancer, Still, she's in the age of the screening. In [00:06:00] all this time, she's on her own.

[00:06:02] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: She has to learn on her own. She has to care for herself. She has to learn about all these things. And this she has to do besides all other obligations she has. So this is a very you can say alarming stuff. So ideally, it should not be like this. It should be taught from her teenage years, as soon as she starts her menstrual cycle, as soon as she starts breast development, she should have awareness bit by bit, step by step.

[00:06:36] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: There should be a proper education and guidance system, coaching system in the colleges, in the universities, and also in their workplace. According to their age, according to their daily lifestyle, everybody has different lifestyle, different genetic makeup, different routine, different diet, different hormones.

[00:06:55] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: Everybody requires a different set of self care methods. It is [00:07:00] not like a one size fits all policy for everyone. So everyone has to learn what is good for them, works for them without having to join any academy, any sessions or all that. It should be part of their routine and it can only be done if they are advised and guide right from their teenage, so that they are aware of all those risk factors till they hit their early thirties, they are already aware of what to do.

[00:07:31] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: Yeah. This is the whole concept.

[00:07:34] Amy Squires: And I'm even thinking back to, I went to school in Canada, and in late elementary, we did sexual health, and it touched on period health, even that wasn't very extensive And, but there was nothing on breast health, certainly. So I'm wondering, you know, what is it exactly that you are saying that we can do?

[00:07:55] Amy Squires: Are you, have you prepared this sort of educational [00:08:00] information? Or how is it you're, you're kind of introducing this

[00:08:02] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: now? Actually I started this from my own clinic for past couple of years. I have been educating and guiding all those females who either come to me for their breast examination or their ultrasound examination.

[00:08:16] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: So their friends, their family members will come to them or anybody who may have had any breast issue in their family, I try to communicate with them, guide them about what went wrong in their case and what they can do for their own family. How to educate them and guide them, give them basic steps. One thing that every GP, every healthcare facility or you can say best awareness campaign, especially in October, they provide a false information that you have to check yourself by pressing.

[00:08:51] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: And if you find a lump, then you go to a doctor, but they don't tell you there are eight to 10 other symptoms also, which may lead to breast cancer. They don't tell you there, [00:09:00] nobody tells us.

[00:09:01] Amy Squires: What are

[00:09:01] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: they? Simply, the breast cancer the breast tissue starts right under the clavicle till the last part of the breast that is felt from sternum till the armpit area.

[00:09:13] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: So in all this part, starting from the skin, any rash, any mark, any ulcer that is not healing, it can be a sign of cancer. Any nipple discharged, any cracked nipple which is not healing, it can be a sign of cancer. Any discharge, which is without squeezing the nipple, any spontaneous discharge can be a sign of cancer, not particularly cancer.

[00:09:37] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: It can be due to a lump, it can be due to a hormonal anomaly that may lead to cancer. From there onwards, in the ducts and the glands, if there is any hardness, if there is any burning sensation, any part of the breast that feels different or that feels stiffer than other part of the breast. The same breast, but the other [00:10:00] areas of the breast, if it is stiffer, if it is tender, it can be a sign of cancer.

[00:10:05] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: Same goes for any lump, but it doesn't have to be a you can say big lump. Any small lump, even the smaller lumps, the cancer tries to grow itself gradually. So most GPs and most doctors, they educate that if you feel a lump, if it is mobile, then you don't have to worry. It can be a fibroid noma. This is a total wrong concept.

[00:10:32] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: In a small lump, which is growing, which has not achieved or which has not attached itself to a deeper tissue or skin, it will be mobile. So, how can we differentiate by simply palpating it that it is non cancerous, you just don't have to worry, wait till it grows bigger. When it grows bigger, it is already stage three, that it has traveled to the lymph nodes.

[00:10:54] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: So these concepts we have to educate and guide every female that it is not just [00:11:00] about finding a lump. You have to notice if there is any change, if she starts to feel difference in the shape, size, color of skin of both breast or nipples. If she starts to feel one breast is constantly heavier, one part of the breast is constantly aching, there is a burning sensation, can be a sign of any disease.

[00:11:20] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: There is no thing that healthy breast and cancer breast. There are multiple things that fall in between these lines and these categories. There can be cysts, there can be hormonal issues, there can be fibrocystic changes, there can be nodules, there can be papillomas, there are multiple things. So just labeling two or three conditions and leaving everything aside, this is a totally wrong approach by the healthcare system, healthcare professionals.

[00:11:47] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: And even the worst thing is even on the month of October, when it is celebrated to be awareness month, only awareness given is check yourself, go to doctor. There is no middle [00:12:00] thing between this, this is totally wrong thing that we are doing. And this practice is leading us towards. A global you can say pandemic of breast disease and breast cancer that every one in eight female is at risk.

[00:12:14] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: This is a global issue and these numbers are increasing just because of negligence and improper information. And

[00:12:22] Amy Squires: would you say that there are any specific groups of people who are more susceptible to breast cancer or breast disease, or

[00:12:31] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: is it kind of across the board? There are genetic factors, there are basically two kind of factors that are linked with formation or development of breast cancer.

[00:12:40] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: One set of factors is the non modifiable, those which we cannot control in female, even men can have breast cancer, but the numbers should be very less, but they can have cancer. So there is one set that is non modifiable that a female doesn't have control of, and the other is a modifiable [00:13:00] one. So, having a tendency of the white race, the white women, they are more at risk later.

[00:13:07] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: After this, there is a tendency for the dark skinned females to have breast cancer. Asians, Hispanics, they all, then there is, you can say a bit less, but the detection in a young female, whether she is from any race. It is having an increased risk of aggressive cancer, like in the 20s. I have seen females in their early 20s of having breast cancer, and just because everybody told them that this cancer doesn't happen in young age, they ignored that.

[00:13:41] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: And when they were diagnosed, it was stage three, stage four. So, the progression is rapid as they ignore it. Secondly, they are not caring for it about the diet, about their self care, those factors that are increasing the cancer cells [00:14:00] progression and the growth. So, it is very important that any female who feels any kind of symptom, any sign, symptom or if she has family history or she has she tested positive in her genes, CRCA 1 or 2.

[00:14:16] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: So those are at high risk. Every female should have access to all the necessary information and if she is at a higher risk then She should adopt those changes which are required for her to reduce the risk factors, the avoidable risk factors.

[00:14:32] Amy Squires: Absolutely. And then, I'm, I'm happy that you mentioned because I know, you know, in just speaking with my friend groups and things like this, that a lot of men are still very broadly unaware that men can actually develop breast cancer as well.

[00:14:46] Amy Squires: I know that, well, I mean, I, I think I know that it's not as common as it is in women. But is, should men be adopting the same approach to breast health? Actually,

[00:14:58] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: It is the risk factors [00:15:00] for females, they are defined because they are mostly linked with estrogen levels, estrogen dominance, excessive amount or excessive period of time in which estrogen had effect on the breast glands and ducts.

[00:15:12] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: Because if a female starts her menstrual cycle before the age of 12 years. And she didn't get her first pregnancy, or she didn't breastfe till the age of 30 or 35 years. This whole gap of this 20 years of uncontrolled, unrestricted effect of estrogen on the body, on the glands and the of breast, this increases her risk factor because estrogen not only promotes Dr.

[00:15:36] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: You can say tendency to have breast cancer, it also has effect on the mutation of the cells. which can lead to cancer formation. So, all these factors, they are more in females. In men, there is estrogen present. It can have an effect, but it is mostly linked with either genetic tendency, or radiation [00:16:00] exposure, or toxins, and carcinogens.

[00:16:03] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: So, the basic thing for any male, any person, if there is growth in the breast tissue, right under the areola, right under the nipple, if it starts to feel heavier, any lump formation, it is painful or any discharge, so it can be a sign of breast cancer in men. I have seen a couple of those cases, but mostly it is prevalent in females.

[00:16:25] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: In the United States, you can say about 1 in 850 or 900 percent. Is a male person is having breast cancer. But the risk for female is one in eight.

[00:16:37] Amy Squires: No, thank you. Thank you for sharing that. All right. So what I'm hearing is, you know, women from a very young age need to be given the resources and the education, but also learn how to become more body aware, you know, it is it is about doing some of those you know, those self exams, but also about having access to other information and knowing what, you know, kind of warning [00:17:00] signs or symptoms to look out for.

[00:17:02] Amy Squires: So how often should a woman be doing a breast self exam? And I guess I want to also highlight what you said about the exam needs to kind of extend on a much broader area on the woman's body than, than just. The breast themself, but rather, you know, the area surrounding the breast, the armpits, and like you said, under, underneath the clavicles.

[00:17:23] Amy Squires: But yeah. How often should a woman be performing these exams provided they are having no other symptoms? No pain, no discharge.

[00:17:32] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: Okay. So any healthy female let's suppose 13 to 14 year old teenager. She should start the basic visual examination. There are two aspects of examination. One is the visual one.

[00:17:44] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: One is the palpation month. So, visual examination can be done on daily basis. Like, like she combs her hair. She washes her face and sees any kind of skin change or anything like that. Any mark, any scar, any pigmentation, [00:18:00] any difference in size, there can be a minimal difference in size, shape, or color.

[00:18:04] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: But if the difference is increasing, if the one side feels more heavier, So, it can be examined on daily basis, the visual examination. It doesn't take much time, one minute on daily basis or alternate day, whatever she is feel comfortable with. So, right from her teenage, she can do it till her. 80s and 90s, whatever lifespan she has, she can do that on a daily basis.

[00:18:29] Amy Squires: So I mean, it's rarely just when you're getting a shower or you're getting dressed, having a look in the mirror and noticing yourself, like I said, being body aware and, you know, and not being then. I mean, it would be concerning and you would feel worried, but not to become so, become so overwhelmed that, you know, you don't seek to help them because you're so worried about something being wrong. But certainly by noticing that, and if you're at that young age, you know, confiding in a parent or, you know, a close relative that, you know, you feel like you can trust into to get them to help you, you know, kind of get that [00:19:00] help and reach out to those, those GPs or, you know, whomever it may be and it really speaks to ensuring that at, from a very young age, you, you have a close and comfortable relationship with your doctor because 13 and 14 year old girls, I mean, I mean, right up until you're in your twenties, you're shy and you feel funny about your body and it's all new and it's really important to have an open and honest. And comfortable relationship with your parents, certainly, or you know, your trusted relative and, and your doctor. 'cause it is a bit of a, a funny conversation to have when you, you know, you've, all of a sudden you're developing breasts and you don't know what they're supposed to look or feel like, and then you notice something that might be wrong with them.

[00:19:45] Amy Squires: So I'm sure that can be a very uncomfortable situation.

[00:19:48] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: This is the exact thing that I'm trying to point out that. If she is in a habit of daily examining herself, she knows what is normal for her. And right at that moment, if she feels after [00:20:00] two, three years or whatever time, she feels there is something different in any skin area if she palpates.

[00:20:07] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: Now the other misconception and the wrong information provided is about the examination method. Everybody tells you have to examine in the circular manner and just by doing this or pressing if you feel anything that it is a lump or anything like that. It is a wrong concept. There are three methods to palpate and every female should learn how to palpate properly because while let's just to put an example.

[00:20:32] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: I often give this example. There are a bunch of straws. If you see them in the front view, you will only see five tubes, small, five small circles. But, unless you trace it back, unless you see this view, you will see they are long straws. The same thing is, if there is a duct block, any breast duct that is blocked, it will be painful.

[00:20:53] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: It will, if she presses it, it will feel like it is a small nodule. But unless she [00:21:00] traces back, she will not know either it is a tubular structure or a round structure. So the same thing is, she has to do three kind of exam, every female. First is by the circular motion, all parts starting from the clavicle, going round till the armpit area.

[00:21:17] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: Then the second is by line method, going up and down, same way, pressing it. So, she doesn't miss any part. The third is the wedge method, like 1 o'clock, 2 o'clock, 3 o'clock. So, because the ducts, they are, they fan out, like, from the nipple area to the outer area. So, unless she is examining all the parts in the way they are situated.

[00:21:41] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: Like in the umbrella, the, all the pins of the umbrella and all that, they are all circulating in you can say circular manner, but we are only checking them in a radical method or one method. We will not be able to properly examine that if she's having any kind of lump, whether it's a tubular lump, [00:22:00] whether it is a spherical lump or a circle.

[00:22:03] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: So it is very important to properly learn how to examine. That's why in my coaching sessions, I arrange group training sessions for females of any age group and any walk of life. So they can join in. It is totally free. So I guide them all these steps, whether she is feeling any kind of pain, any lump, any skin changes.

[00:22:24] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: So there are different sessions that I conduct just to give them a clue whether this changed, this problem, this. Issue is having any connection with any disease or cancer or whether it is part of the aging process. Same thing, if a female in her late 20s or early 20s, if she starts to feel any kind of nipple discharge, she's not married, she's not pregnant, she's not breastfeeding, anything, nothing like that.

[00:22:52] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: But there is a small discharge from one nipple or the both. So she will be alarmed, definitely devastated that it [00:23:00] can be cancer or something like that because it is not normal for her, but there are many dietary items. There are different medicines. There are different acquired factors like improper bra use, like different emotional issues, different hormonal issues.

[00:23:17] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: They can trigger the formation of secretions in the breast and the nipple that can be felt. So, unless she is aware that it can be linked with any non cancerous issue, she will be in panic and she will not be satisfied from any single doctor. She will go from one to two to three doctors, have multiple opinions, multiple tests and all that, but it will just go away in a single day if she's relaxed, if she knows which food items triggered it, which medication side effect it can be.

[00:23:50] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: So it is all about knowing her own body and this is the simplest thing any female can do it doesn't involve any Heavy cost [00:24:00] doesn't require anyone to have multiple tests and all that So this whole process should be part of their regular education regular coaching right from the teenage This is the whole thing

[00:24:12] Amy Squires: And I wonder if you could speak more on properly fitted bras.

[00:24:17] Amy Squires: I know from experience again that it's not always easy to find a bra that fits or find more, you know, you might find one, but you're not the same size in another brand, right? It's, you know, you have to worry about the strap size and the cup size and they don't always match. And then, you know, you have the straps, That go longer or shorter.

[00:24:39] Amy Squires: So, how would a girl or a woman How do you approach that? I mean in recent years, and I admit it was not until my thirties that I saw a bra professional and someone who fitted me and, you know, the comfort level and, you know, the appearance was remarkable. It was, it was certainly worth [00:25:00] doing. So any women out there who have never been fitted for a bra properly, I absolutely recommend it.

[00:25:05] Amy Squires: In, you know, and I'm speaking from comfort, but I'd love to hear, Doctor, what you have to say about the benefits or the necessity of having a bra that fits properly.

[00:25:16] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: Actually there are three basic things any bra should provide. The one thing is support because the breasts, they are part of the body which are in a suspensory state or hanging state.

[00:25:28] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: So, all the secretions, all the weight is due to the effect of gravity is towards the lower side. The drainage of the ducts, the drainage of the lymphatics is away from the gravity, towards the armpit area. So, any bra which is not providing proper support, which is, which impairs the normal circulation and drainage of the ducts, then it will definitely give an increased risk of having congestion in the ducts, blockage in the ducts.

[00:25:56] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: Also, these factors contribute towards [00:26:00] inflammation in the ducts. So one thing is any bra which is, which is putting undue pressure on the breast or nipple on any part of the breast, nipple or the armpit area. That is a harmful bra. Secondly, something too tight something too tight constricting bra.

[00:26:20] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: Okay. The second, second thing is any bra material which is rougher on the inside because it will constantly rubbing on the nipple surface. Secondly that if it is not even let's suppose it's not rubbing or it is only pressing on the nipple area. But if that bra material, it has. Those chemicals, which can be carcinogenic, because there are bra dyes, different dyes used, different chemicals to treat the fabric of the bra.

[00:26:50] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: Not all are, you know, having the natural you can say fabric. There are synthetic fabrics, synthetic material, dyes, which are used to treat [00:27:00] them, to give them the shine, the texture and the contour. So it can be harmful. So. As long as it is having a natural, as much as natural component, the cotton component, then it is a safer bra.

[00:27:14] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: The third thing is, the, those females who are having a work routine or study routine for six to eight hours or even more at the desk while they are sitting, if their posture is not proper, if their back is not supported and they are in a habit of sitting forward like this or anything. So, in that case, All those secretions, all those you can say circulation and the blood, it will be pouring downwards towards due to the effect of gravity.

[00:27:46] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: Okay. The secretions are pouring downwards, blood is going downwards, it is not circulating backwards to lymphatic flow. And if the bra is not properly supporting, and if it is a constricting type, or either it is a loose type, that is not [00:28:00] providing proper support, then either it will increase the congestion.

[00:28:04] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: Okay. or it will impair the drainage. In both cases, it is providing a damage on a constant base on daily basis for many months and years. So it is very important for any female to learn the basic massages and basic exercises that promote the lymphatic drainage. And one special aspect for those females who exercise, who jog, who do anything like that, any physical activity.

[00:28:34] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: Sports bra should be selected after checking the bounce test. It is very important because if it is not providing the proper support, it will damage the ligaments inside the breasts. Those ligaments are very small thread like structures that are holding the breast tissue. Any bra which is not supporting, it will be either damaging those connections, those threads, those ligaments.[00:29:00]

[00:29:00] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: And the constant or undue use of push up bra or underwire bra, it is also harmful. Breast tissue upward, it is constantly giving it a shape that is against its normal contour or texture. So, due to this effect, this constant pushing and pulling upward effect, it will detach it from the lower connections.

[00:29:22] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: So it will promote premature sagging, which no younger female or any female wants to have a premature sagging without lactation, without weight gain. So all these factors have to be considered. Same goes for a sports bra, which is not having a good bounce test. It will definitely damage.

[00:29:44] Amy Squires: And, you know, I spoke about it being difficult finding a, a properly fitted bra.

[00:29:50] Amy Squires: And now that you've mentioned sports bras, I mean, in, again, from experience, I find those can be even harder to find as, as someone who does [00:30:00] jog. I mean, jogging, if you don't have a comfortable sports bra on, it, it is actually quite painful. But it's also not easy to, to find a great sports bra. And you're right, you say about the bounce test, I mean, I know myself and my girlfriend, you go and you try a sports bra and you kind of jump up and down because you want to make sure you're gonna go for a run and it's not going to be painful, right?

[00:30:20] Amy Squires: So, I mean, I guess, It's just again about being aware that, yeah, that hurts when you run and it's actually hurting because you're probably doing some damage to some really delicate structures.

[00:30:31] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: Definitely. And one more thing to consider while using any kind of bra. People women, they are in a habit of using either the loose bra or the constricting bra.

[00:30:43] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: Both are very harmful because due to any loose bra, due to respiration the breathing effort. All the time, the nipple surface is constantly rubbing on the inner surface. That is a damaging thing for the skin because it if a [00:31:00] female is in a very harsh weather, cold or warm weather in both these states, the nipple skin will be damaged, cracks and 19

[00:31:13] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: years old only. And for the past one month, she had breast pain, especially nipple area pain. She told her mother friends, they all say it's normal part, it is a growing age and all that. But, she later developed 9 to 10 cc abscess in the nipple area under it. Just cause it was a constricting bra, it was constantly pressing on the nipple skin, damaging it.

[00:31:37] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: And due to excessive heat, excessive humid weather, it all led to the formation of, say, of abscess. And when the pain was unbearable, then she reported, I examined her, I did ultrasound, and then gave her the treatment and all that. So this is just one example that our teenage years, younger females, they don't have any proper person [00:32:00] to guide them.

[00:32:00] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: Mm-hmm. , they don't have any person to educate them.

[00:32:03] Amy Squires: Mm. And you can understand, you know, I'm sure her family was very well meaning, but again, their breasts do hurt when they're growing or, you know, when you're coming up into your menstrual cycle, they can get really tender and sore. So I'm sure, you know, that her family in this case was very well meaning and You know, may have thought back to their own experience that, yeah, you know, my breasts are tender sometimes, or, you know, the, the changes in your body, the growing pains, it does happen, but it just goes to show that you know your body best, and if it's something that you're having to question, then you should definitely get checked out.

[00:32:39] Amy Squires: And I, I just wanted to go back, because you may have seen me smirk then when you said about women who like to wear either the bras that are too tight or that are too loose. And again, I'm speaking to the women in the audience. I'm sure that every one of you has your favorite bra and it's because it's, it's gone from really well fitting to being stretched out a little bit and you've [00:33:00] worn it too much and it should probably now be in the bin.

[00:33:02] Amy Squires: But I think a lot of us are guilty of that because it's just comfort, right? And not everyone wants to go without a bra, but you might want to feel like you don't have a bra on because again, sometimes they can be, they can feel constricting, especially when you're coming up to your menstrual cycle and you're swollen, you know, and everything's feeling a bit bigger and it's uncomfortable.

[00:33:22] Amy Squires: So I guess this is kind of a note to all those women is to go get your Bras, bras checked, look at them, make sure they're not too big and make sure they fit properly and, and seek someone out, a professional who can help you do that. But also I wanted to ask you, excuse me, what is there to be said about going braless?

[00:33:43] Amy Squires: You know, around, particularly around the house, you get home from work and women, first thing some of us do, I'm guilty of that a lot of the times, you just take your bra off. Because it feels really comfortable and you want to relax. But is this damaging us? Because then gravity is taking effect, you know?[00:34:00]

[00:34:01] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: The main every female has to learn the basic concept of using a bra just to provide support and to provide the proper circulation and drainage that I've already mentioned. So in that case, that scenario, they can wear any kind of loose fit you can say regular fit bra, which is not either too loose or too tight.

[00:34:21] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: In very comfortable fabric, cotton fabric or any stretchable fabric, and they can do a couple of exercises that help in improving the circulation drainage. One exercise that every female can do any time of the day, in a few times, in cycles, is the, like the combing effect. This thing, this helps in improving the strength of these muscles of the upper chest.

[00:34:48] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: Right above those muscles which are supporting the breast tissue and all that. It also improves the circulation of the lymphatic, circulation of the armpit area. It is a very good exercise she can [00:35:00] do on regular basis, and it'll improve the strength of the muscles. It'll reduce the risk of premature sagging, and also it'll promote the lymphatic drainage.

[00:35:11] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: The other is she can do is like the flapping movement up and down. Okay.

[00:35:16] Amy Squires: And so these are arm movements. So moving your arm as if you're combing your hair and then flapping. Okay.

[00:35:22] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: Basically, these all exercises, they help to strengthen the muscles that are linked with the joint and this armpit area, because all the lymph nodes, all the vessels, they are in this area.

[00:35:34] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: So we have to support these vessels, these muscles. These muscles are basically the thing that are providing strength. So when we are strengthening them, then it will reduce the congestion also. It will improve the circulation and definitely it will improve the lymphatic drainage. So the same thing is if a person is holding and squeezing the wrist [00:36:00] tightly and suddenly when it is released, They will feel pain for a couple of seconds.

[00:36:05] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: There will be increased pain cause all the rush in all that, the blood that will go straight inside. So it will be painful. The same thing is when they remove bra, all the secretions that were either holding inside or whether they were they were not properly poured inside, they were, they will suddenly pour inside to what do the effect of the gravity, then it will be more painful for them.

[00:36:30] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: So, it is advisable to wear any bra that is, that can be stretchable, that is not too much constricting of soft fabric, that can provide some kind of support, and also it can reduce their congestion also.

[00:36:48] Amy Squires: And what about sleeping with a bra on? Definitely. I've heard mixed reviews on that and I don't know if it's personal opinion or, or what, but I've heard some women who say you definitely must and then others who say absolutely not.[00:37:00]

[00:37:00] Amy Squires: So what's kind of the rule around that?

[00:37:03] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: The rule, the simple thing is if we're, we have if a person is wearing a bra and she's sleeping, she will be either sleeping on her stomach, will be either sleeping on one side. So that's part of the breast that is already constricted due to the shoulder and arm and the side movement.

[00:37:20] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: One side will be totally pressed. So it is not a good thing. So ideally she should not sleep wearing a bra or if she is wearing she can unhook it or she can wear that kind of T shirt type or any kind that is loose, that is not constricting, that can allow the proper circulation and drainage according to her posture.

[00:37:43] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: So, it is not a good thing to wear a bra all the time. It is already constricting on the whole day and in the night time when. It is time for the body to relax. It is in a pressure mode. It is not a good thing.

[00:37:58] Amy Squires: All right. Well, that's great for those of us who [00:38:00] can't wait to get our bras off when we get home from work.

[00:38:04] Amy Squires: All right. So that's a lot of information. I think I've definitely learned a lot. And I wanted to ask as well, what do you have to say about breast implants? Do these have a severe negative effect on breast health, or do they, do they not? Does it vary? And does it change the way a woman would do a breast

[00:38:23] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: exam?

[00:38:24] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: Just a simple question from you, that anything that we ingest, that we apply on the skin, anything that we put inside our body, is, it definitely has some kind of effect. We are drinking water, the access of it is bad. Anything that we are applying on the skin, it is absorbed, it has some kind of effect on the skin texture and the deeper tissues.

[00:38:48] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: Same is with any kind of implant. Let's suppose science is totally, and the technology and all that, we get a material that is totally inert, it is not doing any harm [00:39:00] to any part of the body, and it is not absorbable, it does not contain any kind of carcinogen and all that. Even then, we are inserting something inside the body.

[00:39:11] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: which is occupying the space, which is putting some kind of pressure, which was not already present on the chest wall, on the muscles. And if let's suppose there was a 50 gram weight on that particular area, if we suddenly put a 250 gram weight on that area, It'll have some kind of effect. Yeah, yeah, certainly.

[00:39:34] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: So it is, it is not something that I want women to avoid or totally ignore or totally stop doing. They can adopt anything that they can feel comfortable with, but they have to accept the consequences. We are not even sure if she may have any kind of side effect in one month, in one year or 10 years, but she may not have any kind of side effect of it.

[00:39:56] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: It can be a totally safe procedure. [00:40:00] Whenever there is surgery, whenever there is some kind of incision, any kind of healing process that takes place, not every feeling, a healing process is ideal. Not every scar heals ideally. So everybody can have some kind of complication right from the surgery, from the scar, from the medication, or from the follow up.

[00:40:19] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: So it all depends how much she is aware of the consequences, how much she is willing to take the risk, and how much she is Feeling confident after that implant, if she is confident, she is happy, satisfied and she is willing to accept all those consequences, then it is her decision to make. But anything we do, it has some kind of consequence.

[00:40:42] Amy Squires: Yeah. And again, it's about being, you know, body aware and, and being willing to take on that responsibility of the extra work that you may have to do when it comes to managing any sort of body modification, I suppose.

[00:40:55] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: Definitely. It all depends on it is not just you read [00:41:00] something or you see someone or you read you listen about someone having a great look, a great outcome.

[00:41:08] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: Maybe it is a better one for you, but it can have a side effect. It can go south for you. So you have to be aware, you have to consider all those aspects and take an informed decision.

[00:41:21] Amy Squires: Yeah, that's right. And again, it's about that relationship with your doctors, or in that case, your surgeon and making sure they're giving you the correct information and that you understand the information that they're sharing with you.

[00:41:32] Amy Squires: Definitely. And I wanted to ask, you mentioned that you'd offer I don't know if you call them programs or courses where you assist. women or you have women in doing their breast exam and learning how to do these things, and correct me if I've understood that wrong, but are these done online? Because if so, it's something that I'd love to share if, if it's available.

[00:41:52] Amy Squires: I know you mentioned it's free.

[00:41:54] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: Yes, there are mainly at this moment, till this moment, for about you can [00:42:00] say I've initiated my organization for about one year or more, and I've been doing these sessions for three or four months. These are all Zoom sessions. It is basic information regarding any topic like the last time I did, it was about skin changes in the breast and nipples.

[00:42:17] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: So, I I educate and guide them about how to examine breast and nipples, visual examination, same tips, the basic method of it, and later I told through the help of slides and all that, which changes are normal and which are abnormal, which are warning signs and which signs and symptoms should be cared for to reduce their intensity and severity.

[00:42:40] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: So these are all online sessions, Zoom sessions. So I conduct them on a regular basis, depending on the schedule and depending on the topic. And especially, I volunteer in different Facebook groups regarding breast health, breast cancer. So I get many questions and queries on a regular basis. So I try to address those [00:43:00] questions weekly basis or after every two weeks, which are frequent.

[00:43:04] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: So I try to formulate a session based on those inquiries and give them. Those tips and methods which can be helpful for them. So, it was, one was about breast pain, one was about breast development, either it is according to age, either it is complete, factors which may affect or reduced or increased breast development, all that.

[00:43:28] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: One was about self breast awareness, about which food items to take, which skincare products are good, which are bad, environmental factors, as well as emotional health issues. sexual hormonal effects and all that. So there are different aspects to breast health, not just the breast tissue that is visible, but there are other health issues that directly or indirectly affect.

[00:43:52] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: The breast health, so all these, these are discussed.

[00:43:56] Amy Squires: Perfect. And so what I'll do for anyone who's listening, I'll [00:44:00] get some links off of you after we have this conversation and I'll share those in the description of the video for anyone who's wanting to explore that further. And then I'd also just like to confirm, I know that you're in Pakistan and I just wanted to check, are the resources that you do share, are they also available in English?

[00:44:18] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: Yes. Yes. They are. My website bebreastaware. org. It is in two languages, English and Urdu, my local area language. So it is totally free. It is a complete information resource. It has all the information regarding breast health, breast cancer, screening, and disease process, testing, and all that.

[00:44:38] Dr. Jawad Mustafa: Everything is there. It is totally free for everyone. Everyone can anyone can access it. They can see all the information is totally free for you.

[00:44:47] Amy Squires: Perfect, I'll share that as well. And I hope excuse me. I hope anyone listening found this valuable today. I certainly did. I did learn some things that I, I didn't know.

[00:44:57] Amy Squires: And it, it just, it's, it's made me rethink some of the [00:45:00] choices including, you know, whether, how often I do or don't wear my bra and how often I actually replace them. So I thank you for that. And as I mentioned, I'll share all the links in the recording and I just hope that all of you listening, you know, women or men, that this kind of sparks a conversation and it helps you to feel more comfortable in talking about those close to you.

[00:45:24] Amy Squires: About your breast health, regardless of how young or old you are, it's never too late to start. So I definitely encourage all of you to jump on board, check out the website. Again, I'll share it in the description and just reach out if you have any further questions or if you feel like you have a question that we might've missed today.

[00:45:41] Amy Squires: So I want to thank you Dr. Jawad for joining me today. It's been incredibly valuable and I'm sure that many people will gain a lot from this episode. And if you enjoyed the episode today, make sure you like, subscribe, and you continue to follow along for more holistic health [00:46:00] modalities, tips, and techniques.

[00:46:02] Amy Squires: Thank you so much.

[00:46:06] Amy Squires: Thank you Have a lovely day.

Guest Speaker: Dr. Jawad Mustafa

Expert in breast health, OBGYN Ultrasound Consultant and Breast Health Coach, Dr. Jawad Mustafa shares valuable insights, practical tips, and advancements in breast cancer screening techniques. With his wealth of knowledge and experience, Dr. Mustafa provides listeners with a deeper understanding of the significance of self-examination, regular screenings, and the role of medical professionals in early detection.

Topics Covered:

- The Importance of Breast Health Awareness

- Self-Breast Examination Techniques

- Early Detection Methods and Screening Technologies

- Common Misconceptions About Breast Cancer

- Support Systems and Resources for Patients and Families

- How to find the correct fitting bra!

Join us for this enlightening conversation that empowers listeners with knowledge, encouraging proactive steps towards better breast health. Remember, awareness and early detection truly can save lives. Resources from this episode: Facebook 



What I used to record this episode

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen

Wireless Charger

Rode Mic

Mic Cable

WiFi plug

Ring light

Audio Cable




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