There are a number of factors that can explain why a woman’s two breasts are different in size or volume.
For one, most of our body parts, such as our legs and eyes, are not fully symmetrical. Hence, your uneven breasts may be attributed to normal growth variations. It is also during your developmental years that you may develop scoliosis, or curvature of the spine, where it causes one side of the rib cage to widen and, in turn, creates uneven breasts.
The hormonal changes that take place during puberty can cause one breast to grow before the other, even if they stop growing at the same time. If your breasts are uneven at the end of puberty, they are likely to remain uneven.
You may have already noticed that your breasts feel fuller and more sensitive during your menstrual cycle. This, too, is normal as you naturally retain water and additional blood flow that causes your breast tissue to expand. Once your menstrual cycle is over, your breasts would revert to their usual size.
Going beyond natural reasons, uneven breasts may also point to underlying medical conditions.
This is a rare condition where one breast grows significantly bigger than the other. It is often treated with surgery.
These deformities affect the structure of your chest and, in turn, your breast size, shape, and projection. For example, the deformities can cause depression in the breast bone and or push the breast bone outwards.
The most concerning cause would be cancer. Uneven breasts could be due to the presence of a fibrous breast lump or a cyst. While they are mostly non-cancerous tumours, lumps can be cancerous. Hence, any sudden or recent changes in your breast size should be evaluated.
Did you know? Women whose breasts differ in size by over 20% may be at higher risk of developing breast cancer.
Besides regular mammograms, it is also good practice to keep a lookout for changes in your breasts. Some changes you ought to look out for include:
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in Singapore. Each year, over 2,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and over 400 die from the disease.
Some women have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than others. This hinges on a few factors including:
The risk of breast cancer increases with age. Most women are diagnosed in their 40s.
Although breast cancer can affect men, the risk is much lower compared to women. However, when breast cancer is diagnosed in men, it is often at a much advanced stage because of the small size of the male breast.
Certain genes, such as the BRCA1 and BRCA2, have been associated with breast cancer. Women who inherit an abnormal form of either of these genes are twice the risk compared to women without these genes.
Women who have a history of breast cancer are at risk of the cancer recurring or developing in the other breast.
Women who do not have children or had their first child after the age of 35 have an increased risk of breast cancer. Those who experience their first menstruation before the age of 11 and/or have their last menstruation after the age of 55 are similarly at higher risk.
Weight gain in post-menopausal women has been associated with breast cancer. Conversely, regular physical exercise and a balanced diet are known to reduce the risk of breast cancer. A balanced diet, particularly, should also include limited consumption of saturated animal fats and a good amount of fruits and vegetables. Together, these help to maintain a healthy weight.
Post-menopausal women who are on long-term Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) have a 30% increased risk of breast cancer. This risk is completely eliminated after three to five years of ceasing HRT. Separately, young girls between the ages of 10 to 15 who consume oral contraceptive pills are also at increased risk of breast cancer.
There are a few ways to improve the cosmetic appearance of uneven breasts. This, of course, is only applicable if the cause of your uneven breasts is due to non-medical reasons.
Breast reduction surgery is performed to reduce the size of large breasts for a more youthful shape. People with large breasts often suffer from neck, back, or shoulder pain. If you have uneven breasts, breast reduction surgery can reduce the size of your larger breast to even out the shape and size of your breasts. It would also ameliorate any pain associated with large breasts.
On the flipside, breast augmentation is performed to give your breasts volume. This procedure involves surgically inserting an implant behind each breast to enhance its volume and shape, achieving breast symmetry.
If the cause of your breast asymmetry is due to an underlying medical condition, that condition needs to be addressed first. For example, if your breast asymmetry is a result of breast cancer, then you will need to undergo cancer treatment first before considering a procedure to improve the shape of your breasts.