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Can 14 Year Olds Get Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer And Teenage Girls

19-year-old dies 14 months after going under for breast implants that left her incapacitated

If youre a teenage girl, you might be worried about your risk of getting breast cancer.

Developing breast cancer when youre a teenager is extremely rare. Its also uncommon in women in their 20s and 30s. The vast majority of breast cancers are diagnosed in women over the age of 50.

There can be a lot of unreliable information and scare stories on the internet, so its important to use reputable websites or talk to your GP if youre worried about any changes to your breasts. You can also call our Helpline free on 0808 800 6000 to speak with one of our experts.

Children And Adolescents With Breast Cancer Should Have Their Treatment Planned By A Team Of Doctors Who Are Experts In Treating Childhood Cancer

Treatment will be overseen by a pediatric oncologist, a doctor who specializes in treating children with cancer. The pediatric oncologist works with other pediatric health professionals who are experts in treating children with cancer and who specialize in certain areas of medicine. This may include the following specialists and others:

Surgery is done to remove the tumor, but not the whole breast.

What Is A Young Adult Cancer

There is no strict definition of what separates childhood cancers from cancers in young adults, or when exactly a person is no longer a young adult. But for statistics purposes, cancers in young adults are often thought of as those that start between the ages of 20 and 39.

Cancer is not common in young adults, but a wide variety of cancer types can occur in this age group, and treating these cancers can be challenging.

Most cancers occur in older adults. The most common cancers in older people are cancers of the skin, lung, colon and rectum, breast , and prostate . Many cancers in older adults are linked to lifestyle-related risk factors or to other environmental factors. A small portion are strongly influenced by changes in a persons genes that they inherit from their parents.

Cancers that start in children or in teens are much less common. The types of cancers that develop in children and teens are often different from the types that develop in adults. Childhood cancers are often the result of gene changes that take place very early in life, sometimes even before birth. Unlike many cancers in adults, cancers in children and teens are not strongly linked to lifestyle or environmental risk factors.

The types of cancers that occur in young adults are a mix of many of the types that can develop in children, teens, and older adults.

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Radiation Therapy To The Breast Or Chest To Treat A Previous Cancer Increases The Risk Of Breast Cancer

Anything that increases your chance of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer not having risk factors doesn’t mean that you will not get cancer. Talk with your child’s doctor if you think your child may be at risk for breast cancer.

Risk factors for breast cancer in children, adolescents, and young adults include the following:

Most Breast Tumors In Children Are Fibroadenomas

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Fibroadenomas are benigntumors. Rarely, these tumors become large phyllodes tumors and begin to grow quickly. If a benign tumor begins to grow quickly, a fine-needle aspiration biopsy or an excisional biopsy will be done. The tissues removed during the biopsy will be viewed under a microscope by a pathologist to check for signs of cancer.

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Breast Cancer Vs Normal Development

Normal breast development can resemble breast cancer, and it is not possible to tell what is normal and what is not based on a comparison of symptoms.

Normal breast development, however, usually follows a pattern. It begins with nickel-sized lumps under each nipple, and the breasts gradually grow from these lumps.

Breast cancer, in general, is survivable with prompt treatment. This is particularly true of noninvasive breast cancers, and of breast cancers that have not spread to other areas of the body.

Treatments often include chemotherapy, radiation, medication, surgery, or a combination of these.

Pregnancy During And After Breast Cancer

Pregnant women who receive standard chemotherapies for breast cancer during the second and third trimester have outcomes comparable to non-pregnant breast cancer patients .

The desire for future pregnancy can affect selection of treatment protocol. One multicenter study showed that 19% of young breast cancer patients refused endocrine therapy, or chose one chemotherapy regimen over another, based on the wish to bear children in the future . Pregnancy following a diagnosis of breast cancer does not impact mortality. A large meta-analysis showed a lower relative risk of death among women who bore a child after a breast cancer diagnosis . The POSITIVE study is prospectively evaluating outcomes of pregnancy following breast cancer.

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What Does A Breast Lump Feel Like

What does a breast lump feel like? Breast tissue in and of itself can feel somewhat lumpy and sponge-like, so it can be hard to know if what youre feeling is an actual lump or just normal breast tissue. A breast lump will feel like a distinct mass thats noticeably more solid than the rest of your breast tissue.

Brain And Spinal Cord Tumors

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There are many types of brain and spinal cord tumors, and the treatment and outlook for each is different.

In children, most brain tumors start in the lower parts of the brain, such as the cerebellum or brain stem . Adults are more likely to develop tumors in upper parts of the brain. Tumors in adolescents can occur in either area.

Spinal cord tumors are less common than brain tumors in all age groups. These tumors can cause numbness, weakness, or loss of coordination in the arms or legs , as well as bladder or bowel problems.

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Soft Tissue And Bone Cancers

Sarcomas are cancers that start in connective tissues such as muscles, bones, or fat cells. There are 2 main types of sarcoma:

  • Soft tissue sarcomas

Sarcomas can develop at any age, but some types occur most often in older teens and young adults.

Soft tissue sarcomas: These cancers can start in any part of the body, but they often develop in the arms or legs. Rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer that starts in cells that normally develop into skeletal muscles, is most common in children younger than 10, but it can also develop in teens and young adults. Most other types of soft tissue sarcomas become more common as people age. Symptoms depend on where the sarcoma starts, and can include lumps , swelling, or bowel problems.

For more information, see Soft Tissue Sarcoma and Rhabdomyosarcoma.

Bone sarcomas: The 2 most common types of bone cancer,osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma, are most common in teens, but they can also develop in young adults. They often cause bone pain that gets worse at night or with activity. They can also cause swelling in the area around the bone.

Osteosarcoma usually starts near the ends of the leg or arm bones. The most common places for Ewing sarcoma to start are the pelvic bones, the bones of the chest wall , or in the middle of the leg bones.

For more information, see Osteosarcoma and Ewing Family of Tumors.

Possible Signs And Symptoms Of Cancer In Teens

There are many reasons cancers in teens and young adults might not be recognized right away. Sometimes the early symptoms of cancer can overlap with those from much more common illnesses or injuries. Young people might feel run down, get sick, or have bumps or bruises that could mask the early signs of cancer. But its important to be aware of the common signs and symptoms of cancer. These can include:

  • An unusual lump or swelling in the neck, belly, testicle, or elsewhere
  • Unexplained tiredness and loss of energy
  • Ongoing pain in one part of the body
  • Unexplained fever or illness that doesnt go away
  • Frequent headaches, often with vomiting
  • Sudden eye or vision changes
  • Loss of appetite or unplanned weight loss
  • A new mole or other spot on the skin, or one that changes in size, shape, or color

Other symptoms are also possible, depending on the type of cancer. See Types of Cancers that Develop in Adolescents. for more information on common symptoms for specific cancers.

Many of these symptoms are much more likely to be caused by something other than cancer. Still, if a teen has any of these symptoms especially if they dont go away or they get worse it’s important to have them checked by a doctor.

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Finding Cancer In Adolescents

Cancers are often found later in teens than they are in other age groups. There are a number of reasons the diagnosis of cancer might be delayed:

  • Most teens tend to be fairly healthy and might not go to the doctor unless they feel they really need to. This is especially true for young men.
  • These years are often a time of growing independence, when young people begin to establish their own identity and lifestyle. Concerns other than health, such as spending time with friends, dating, working, or getting ready for college are often higher priority than health at this time. Many teens might not even have a regular doctor.
  • Even when a young person does go to the doctor with symptoms, cancer is not usually high on the list of probable causes because its not common in this age group. Doctors might be more likely to think symptoms like pain or feeling tired are due to causes other than cancer.

Still, some cancers in teens can be found early, when treatment is more likely to be successful.

Types Of Breast Cancer

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There are several different types of breast cancer, which develop in different parts of the breast.

Breast cancer is often divided into either:

  • non-invasive breast cancer found in the ducts of the breast which has not spread into the breast tissue surrounding the ducts. Non-invasive breast cancer is usually found during a mammogram and rarely shows as a breast lump.
  • invasive breast cancer where the cancer cells have spread through the lining of the ducts into the surrounding breast tissue. This is the most common type of breast cancer.

Other, less common types of breast cancer include:

  • invasive lobular breast cancer
  • inflammatory breast cancer

It’s possible for breast cancer to spread to other parts of the body, usually through the blood or the axillary lymph nodes. These are small lymphatic glands that filter bacteria and cells from the mammary gland.

If this happens, it’s known as secondary, or metastatic, breast cancer.

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Whats The Outlook For Children With Breast Cancer

Most children with breast tumors have fibroadenomas. Often, these disappear on their own. Fibroadenomas arent harmful or dangerous unless they mutate into cancerous tumors which is rare, especially in children.

A child or teen with a fibroadenoma will be watched to ensure it remains harmless. Doctors might do a biopsy of the tissue to ensure its benign.

For children with malignant breast cancer, the outlook can vary.

Just like most other types of cancer, controlling the spread makes a huge difference in the outcome. The goal is always for tumors to be treated or removed without spreading.

In general, the outlook for children with all cancer types is getting steadily better.

As of 2021, theres an 84 percent 5-year survival rate for children diagnosed with any type of cancer.

While there arent statistics on the exact survival rates of children with cancer of the breast, the 5-year survival rate for breast cancer in adult women is 90 percent .

The faster children get treatment for cancer, the better the odds will be. Cancer that hasnt spread is always easier to treat and cure.

So if your child has any issues concerning their breasts, ask your doctor about it as soon as you can.

How Is Breast Cancer Treated

Treatment for breast cancer usually depends on the type of cancer and whether the cancer has spread outside of the breast to other parts of the body.

Here are some common treatments:

  • lumpectomy , which removes the cancerous tumor from the breast. A woman usually has this surgery when the cancer is found early and when the lump is small and in only one part of the breast.
  • mastectomy , which removes the whole breast. This surgery is done when cancer cells have spread through the breast or into other parts of the body. It’s a good way to remove all or most of the cancer, and can help prevent the cancer from spreading or coming back. Sometimes, a woman who has a mastectomy may choose to have an operation to reconstruct the breast, so her shape will be more like it was before.
  • radiation therapy and chemotherapy, which are often used after lumpectomy or mastectomy to make sure that all the cancer cells are destroyed and do not grow back. Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays to kill the cancerous cells. Chemotherapy , or chemo, is special medicine that travels throughout the entire body and kills cancer cells.
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When You Need Help

As a young adult or teen, you are either becoming independent or you already are. Depending on your age, you might live on your own or even have your own family. But you will probably need some support to cope with cancer. Here are some ways to find emotional, spiritual, and practical help:

  • Talk with a friend, family member, teacher, or religious leader about your thoughts, feelings, and fears.

  • Find professional help. Talking with a counselor, social worker, or therapist can be very valuable. Ask your health care team to recommend someone who works with people your age who have cancer.

  • A social worker can help you find practical help, such as health insurance or rides to treatment. They can also help you find support groups. Talking to other teens or young adults with cancer can be very helpful. Learn more about support groups for young adults with cancer.

  • Reach out on social media. You can use Instagram, Snapchat, and other apps to stay connected with friends even if you miss work or school. You can also find other young adults with cancer. Learn about online communities for support.

  • Write about what you are going through. Writing can help you cope with stress.

Why Are There Different Screening Recommendations For Women Ages 40

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Mammography in women ages 40-49 may lower the risk of dying from breast cancer, though the benefit is less than for older women . Some major health organizations have concluded the modest potential benefits of mammography for women in their 40s outweigh the risks of over-diagnosis, over-treatment and false positive results .

Komen believes all women should have access to regular screening mammograms when they and their health care providers decide it is best based on their personal risk of breast cancer.

The American Cancer Society states women ages 40-44 should have the option to have a mammogram every year . It recommends routine mammography starting at age 45 .

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommends routine mammography for women starting at age 40 .

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, as well as the American College of Physicians, recommends women 40-49 talk with their health care providers about their risk of breast cancer and the pros and cons of mammography. Then, together, make informed decisions about when to start mammography screening and how often to get screened .

Informed decisions are guided by a womans breast cancer risk profile. Women at higher than average risk of breast cancer are more likely to benefit from mammography .

Talk with your health care provider about when to start mammography screening.

Learn more about weighing the benefits and risks of mammography, including information on over-diagnosis and over-treatment.

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What Is Breast Cancer In Children

Breast cancer occurs when cancer cells grow in breast tissue. The disease is most commonly found in women.

The risk of breast cancer increases with age, with the highest risk between ages 70 and 74 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Cases in children are rarer but not impossible.

Often when children have tumors in their breast tissue, the tumors arent cancerous. Instead, theyre what is known as fibroadenomas.

Fibroadenomas are benign and dont cause symptoms. Children with fibroadenomas still need to be monitored because, rarely, they can grow and become cancerous.

How Is Breast Cancer In Children Treated

The treatment for cancer of the breast in children varies and will depend on the tumor or type of cancer.

Children with benign fibroadenomas dont usually need treatment. Instead, theyll be carefully monitored for changes that might indicate concern, such as changes in size or characteristics of a mass. In many cases, the fibroadenomas will disappear without any treatment at all.

Children with malignant breast cancer will need treatment. Theyll receive care from a pediatric oncology team.

Treatments normally include:

  • radiation therapy to target and kill the cancer cells and stop the growth of new cancer cells
  • surgery to remove the tumor

New therapies, including targeted drug therapies to attack cancer cells without harming other cells in the body, are an option. Treatment will also depend on the childs overall health and whether other cancers are present.

The pediatric oncology team will help develop the appropriate plan for each child.

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