She May Never Get Breast Cancer
The birth of the first British baby genetically screened before conception to be free of a breast cancer gene was hailed yesterday as a breakthrough by doctors but raised fresh questions about the ethics of creating so-called designer babies.
The baby girl grew from an embryo screened to ensure that it did not contain the faulty BRCA1 gene, which would have meant she had a 50%-85% of developing breast cancer.
While mother and daughter were said by a spokesman at University College hospital, London, to be doing “very well” following the birth at this week, medical experts and those involved in cancer research were considering the implications.
Paul Serhal, medical director of the assisted conception unit at the hospital, said: “This little girl will not face the spectre of developing this genetic form of breast cancer or ovarian cancer in her adult life.
“The parents will have been spared the risk of inflicting this disease on their daughter. The lasting legacy is the eradication of the transmission of this form of cancer that has blighted these families for generations.”
In June the mother, then 27, told how she decided to undergo the screening process after seeing all her husband’s female relatives suffer the disease. The woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, said at the time: “We felt that, if there was a possibility of eliminating this for our children, then that was a route we had to go down.”
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.
What Is Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in females age 15 to 39 years, though it accounts for only 5% of all breast cancer cases. Breast cancer in this younger group tends to be more aggressive and difficult to treat.
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Parents Must Communicate Concerns To Doctors
Regardless of how rare Hannah’s cancer is, some doctors said the case illustrates the need for parents to communicate their concerns to doctors — and for doctors to take into account any potential health threats, however unusual.
“What bears emphasizing is that: a) this is incredibly rare, and teenagers need not worry about this happening to them; and b) physicians need to be aware that, while rare, this can happen, so that new lumps should be taken seriously,” said Dr. George Sledge, professor of Medicine and Pathology at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis and editor-in-chief of the journal Clinical Breast Cancer.
Lichtenfeld agreed. “Hannah’s case, which thankfully appears to be having an excellent outcome, is extremely unusual and should not be cause for undue alarm,” he said. “As with any health issue, parents who are concerned about any seemingly unusual physical change should talk to their family’s health care professional.”
Likewise, Hannah told KCAL that she hopes her experience will help other children like her keep open lines of communication with their parents when it comes to health issues.
“I want to set an example for all the kids in the world, that if there’s something wrong with your body, you tell your parents,” she said.
Michelle Schlief and the ABC News Medical Unit contributed to this report.
Nipple Erections Happen For This Reason
Everyone knows nipples get stiff and stick out when a person is turned on, when its cold, or when fabriclike a sports brarubs against them in a certain way. But why do nipple hard-ons, as they’re called, happen in the first place? According to a 2016 study in Nature Neuroscience, it has to do with a specific type of specialized nerve cells concentrated in the area.
Those nerve cells are part of the sympathetic nervous system, which controls involuntary movements, the study authors say. By controlling the erectile muscles in breast tissue , they can help the body respond to outside stimuli, which in turn lets your system regulate things like internal temperature, sexual arousal, and the fight-or-flight response to threats.
If your nipples are the super sensitive kind that become erect anytime a breeze blows, and these nipple erections bother you, you can always try to cover up your perked-up pair with a lined or padded bra. But outside of that, erect nipples that peek out of your T-shirt at inappropriate times are just one of those things most women laugh off and learn to live with.
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Teen Breast Cancer Causes And Symptoms
There are times that teen girls may discover a small lump in their breast, but it is almost always benign and typically triggered by normal hormonal fluctuations. These noncancerous lumps usually go away on their own. However, there are symptoms a doctor should be made aware of:;
- The breast tissue hurts outside of normal soreness caused by a menstrual period
- Breast tissue puckers or dimples;
- Itchy or scaly rash on breast;
- Unexplained changes in breast symmetry, shape, and size;
- Breast swelling, red, or hot to touch
- Nipple discharge is liquid or bloody;
- Lump spreads to armpit or collarbone
- Lump is hard
- Lump is painful
- Lump is fixed to the chest wall
Due to the high amount of treatment options for teen breast development, the survival rate is high. Teenagers are healthy enough to tolerate the most aggressive therapies used to treat breast cancer. Thats why its best to avoid high-risk lifestyle behaviors that can increase this risk. The American Cancer Society has noted that although environmental and lifestyle behaviors are not strongly associated with breast cancer, its best to avoid engaging in risky ones like smoking and consistently unhealthy diets. Other behaviors like radiation exposure to treat other diseases like leukemia or Hodgkins disease in young girls can increase the risk of breast cancer development, which takes an average of 20 years to develop.;
Common Conditions That Can Be Treated
The following are breast conditions that are fairly common in teens. They cause symptoms that may be worrisome. But they are not serious. In many cases, they dont even need treatment. Talk with the healthcare provider if your daughter has signs of any of these problems.
Fibroadenomas.;These are smooth, solid lumps of fibrous tissue in the breasts. They are not cancer , and are harmless. Fibroadenomas may come and go around periods. If your daughter has a lump, her healthcare provider can confirm whether it is a fibroadenoma. If the lump is growing in size or is painful, it can be removed.
Fibrocystic breast changes.;This is the development of fluid-filled sacs in the breasts. They make the breast feel lumpy, tender, or painful. They are not cancer. And they dont make a girl more likely to get breast cancer. Treatment can help relieve symptoms. Reducing the amount of caffeine and fat in a girls diet may help. Your daughters healthcare provider can discuss other treatment choices with you.
Infection.;Infection is the growth of harmful bacteria. Infection of breast tissue is possible, especially if your daughter is too modest to get a cut or sore on the breast cared for. Symptoms of infection include redness, warmth, red lines on the skin, or the skin feeling sore. Your daughter may also have a fever. If your daughter shows signs of an infection, call the healthcare provider. Treatment with antibiotics may be needed.
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Treatment Of Breast Cancer In Teens
Doctors treat secretory adenocarcinoma by surgically cutting out the cancer while sparing as much breast tissue as possible.
Depending on the type of therapy and how long it lasts, it can affect your fertility and increase your chances of other cancers.
You can still breastfeed after breast or nipple surgery. However, some people may produce less milk than others.
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:
- Past treatment with radiation therapy to the breast or chest for another cancer, such as Hodgkin lymphoma.
- Having a personal history of a type of cancer that may spread to the breast, such as leukemia, rhabdomyosarcoma, soft tissue sarcoma, or lymphoma.
- A family history of breast cancer in a mother, father, sister, or brother.
- Inherited changes in the BRCA1 or BRCA2gene or in other genes that increase the risk of breast cancer.
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How Is Breast Cancer Diagnosed
Breast cancer in children is diagnosed with a physical exam to look for breast changes such as:
- A lump in the breast
- Changes in the size or shape of the breasts
- Dimpling skin on the breast
- Pulling in of a nipple
- Discoloration of breast skin
Tests used to confirm a diagnosis of breast cancer include:;
- 3D tomosynthesis is a special new type of digital mammogram
What Does A Breast Lump Feel Like
Breast lumps can look and feel different depending on the type. They can be painful or painless, and may feel hard, soft, or rubbery under the skin. Some breast lumps are moveable and some are not. They can be many different sizes. It is important for girls and young women to be familiar with the normal shape of their breasts, so they can recognize if a lump appears.
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Replacing Fear With Facts
To deflate unrealistic fears, young girls living in the breast-cancer-awareness era need accurate information and reassurance.
More than 20% of the girls we surveyed believe that breast cancer is caused by infection, tanning, drug use, stress, and breast injury or bruising. The fact is, none of these are risk factors. And, sadly, few girls surveyed knew how to reduce their risk of developing breast cancer in their lifetime.
It is also clear that without accessible and accurate information, girls can mistake regular breast development changes as symptoms of breast cancer.
Bottom line: our girls lack information that can empower them to establish breast-healthy behaviors to reduce the risk of ever getting breast cancer.
Types Of Breast Lumps
Common types of breast lumps include:
- Breast cysts are the most common type of lump in children and teens. A breast cyst is a fluid-fill pocket that can be just under the skin or inside the breast tissue. Breast cysts are almost always benign, but they can become painful just before a woman begins her period. The cyst might also change size over the course of her period.
- Fibroadenomas are often found in older teenagers and young women in their early 20s. They are typically painless and benign. Fibroadenomas are made up of gland and connective tissue and can be different sizes.
- Fibrocystic changes are normal changes in the texture of a womans breast tissue that causes the breasts to feel lumpy or ropy. The breasts may also be painful, especially right before a womans period. Fibrocystic breasts are common and harmless, but they can sometimes cause discomfort.
Less common causes of breast lumps include:
Only a doctor can diagnose the kind of breast lump that your child has. Breast lumps can also be caused by other conditions.
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Should Women Under Age 40 Get Mammograms
In general, regular mammograms arent recommended for women under 40 years of age, in part because breast tissue tends to be dense, making mammograms less effective.The American Cancer Society recommends women ages 40 to;44 should have a choice to start yearly screening mammograms if they would like.;Women ages 45 through 54 should have a mammogram each year and those 55 years and over should continue getting mammograms every 1 to 2;years..; Most experts believe the low risk at that age doesnt justify the exposure to radiation or the cost of mammography. But mammograms may be recommended for younger women with a family history of breast cancer and other risk factors.
Living With Breast Cancer
Dealing with breast cancer can be very hard for a woman and her family. A woman who has breast cancer surgery or treatment may not feel well for a while. She may be depressed if she had her breast removed. If a woman needs chemotherapy, she may lose her hair and she may feel sick to her stomach. She also may worry that the cancer will return and she’ll get sick again.
The good news is that many times, especially if a lump is caught early, women with breast cancer go on to live full, healthy lives after treatment. Some join support groups so they can talk to other women with breast cancer who are feeling the same emotions.
There are even groups that kids or other family members can join to talk about their feelings when someone they love has breast cancer. Find a trusted adult to talk with if you’re worried about a loved one.
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Two Types Of Standard Treatment Are Used For Breast Cancer:
Surgery is done to remove the cancer, but not the whole breast.
Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. External radiation therapy uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the area of the body with cancer.
The Source Of Their Fear
Over the past 30 years, the breast cancer awareness movement has saved many lives. But as revolutionary as the movement has been, something important has been overlooked. Few, if any, have considered the unintended fallout of surrounding young girls with constant messages about breast cancer.
Impressionable girls seem to respond to the information with fear they dont have the resources to understand the meaning and relevance of these critical issues.
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What Causes Breast Cancer
The cause of breast cancer in children is unknown, but certain risk factors are linked to the disease.;
Risk factors for breast cancer in children, teens, and young adults includes:;
- Past treatment with radiation therapy to the breast or chest for another cancer, such as Hodgkin lymphoma
- A personal history of a cancer that tends to spread to the breast, such as leukemia, lymphoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, or soft tissue sarcoma;
- A family history of breast cancer in a close relative
- Inherited changes in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene or in other genes that increase the risk of breast cancer
Why Do People Get Breast Cancer
Any woman can get breast cancer, but these things can make some women more likely to get it:
- Family history: A woman whose mother, sister, aunt, or daughter has had breast cancer is more likely to get it.
- Age: As women get older, they are more at risk for breast cancer. Teens as well as women in their twenties and thirties are less likely to get breast cancer.
- Diet and lifestyle choices: Women who smoke, eat high-fat diets, drink alcohol, and don’t get enough exercise may be more at risk for developing breast cancer.
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