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Dr. April L. Speed is a surgeon and breast health expert. Dr. Speed completed both her Internship and General surgery residency at Grady Memorial Hospital, one of the busiest Level I trauma centers in the Southeast. Upon completion of an intensive General Surgery residency she went on to receive the prestigious Susan G. Komen-sponsored Breast Fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.


What does it mean to have dense breasts?

Dense breasts mean the tissue is very thick, making it difficult for MGM to detect every lump. Sometimes an ultrasound or breast MR will help see the tissue better.

Is it true that women should be careful about what type of deodorant we use? Are there harmful ingredients in some of these products?

Deodorant has not been found to cause breast cancer

Just had mammogram. Came back all clear. Last night, I noticed what seems to be like an enlarged vein on my left breast. What could it be? Any cause for alarm?

The swollen vein in your breast is called superficial thrombophlebitis. NSAIDs (Motrin, Aleve) are the cure for that. It should go away. If it hasn’t gone away with 2 weeks of treatment. Go back and see your doctor right away.

I’ve had one cyst removed in each breast. Both were the benign. Am I at a higher risk to get breast cancer because of the previous cysts?

Having previous cysts removed increases you risk if they have atypical cells so always ask for the specifics of the pathology/cytology report. Don’t accept a “benign” or non-cancerous report. Have your doctor explain what the results mean for you today, 5 years from now and overall lifetime, in terms of no or increased risk.

Are there any particular foods or food group that is attributed to breast cancer?

There are no identified foods to cause breast cancer but several things can help reduce your overall risk and position your body to be stronger to fight off cancer. These include, reducing your intake of alcohol (1-2 drinks per day), reduce intake of processed  foods and sugars, decrease foods high in saturated fats ( Sunday dinner…Ox tails). Moderation is key. Exercise, exercise, exercise.

Dr. April Speed Answers Your Breast Cancer Related Questions  was originally published on

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