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With undertones of support and awareness, October is a month that characterizes itself in both educating and standing behind those who are fighting / have fought breast cancer.  About 1 in 8 women (12.4%) in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, and to only further stress the importance of annual check-up, most breast cancer (85%) occurs in women who have no family history of breast cancer.

Breast cancer is an umbrella term for many different types of cancer — all that begin perforation in the cells of the breast. However, “breast cancer” stands for a multitude of different cancer types, all which require different treatment and prognosis.

In light of breast cancer awareness month, we explore the awesomeness and glory that is the female nipple — a structure that is not only the lifeline to your baby, should you have one, but because nipples are beautiful and possess a sense of mystique that we plan on exploring and debunking.

1. Nipples are unique in that they come in different shapes, colors, and sizes: No two nipples are the same

2. The female nipple does not only have one hole. Many women note that once they start nursing, they notice milk flows out of multiple openings, and this is truly the case. There are in fact 15-20 small openings functioning much like a fountain

3. Montgomery glands are the source of the little bumps around the areola. These bumps are meant to provide protection to your nipple-areola-complex by releasing a natural lubricant to keep area soft and hydrated.

4. About 10% – 20% of nipples are inverted: Inverted nipple is a condition where the nipple is retracted into the breast instead of being pointed outward.

5. Wear proper bras to avoid “Jogger’s nipple”: Aerobic exercise, especially runs, without a bra can chafe and cause nipples to become sore, dry, and in some cases, cause them to bleed.

6. Hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, can induces nipple sensitivity: The nipple-areola complex can fluctuate in sensitivity throughout a hormone cycle. As a woman gets closer to menstruation, her nipples will peak in sensitivity.

7. Maintaining a healthy weight — especially after menopause —can reduce your breast cancer risk: An overweight or obese bodyweight may increase your cancer risk. In order to maintain a lower risk, health-conscious meals (plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans) and staying active (30 minutes of physical activity per day) are effective in doing so.

For those considering post-mastectomy options, Ruth Swissa offers Areola Pigmentation procedure and the original Temporary Areola Tattoo.