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Can Young People Get Breast Cancer

What Are The Risk Factors For Breast Cancer In Children

Self-exam catches 28-year-old’s breast cancer in early stages

The risk of breast cancer is increased by the following:

  • Having a personal history of a type of cancer that may spread to the breast, such as leukemia, rhabdomyosarcoma, soft tissue sarcoma, or lymphoma.
  • Past treatment for another cancer, such as Hodgkin lymphoma, with radiation therapy to the breast or chest.

Treatment Of Breast Cancer In Teens

Doctors treat secretory adenocarcinoma by surgically cutting out the cancer while sparing as much breast tissue as possible.

Doctors consider chemotherapy and radiation on a case-by-case basis. The risks these treatments pose to young, developing bodies may outweigh the benefits.

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.

85 percent . This means that theyre 85 percent as likely to live another 5 years as 15- to 19-year-old U.S. girls without breast cancer.

The 5-year relative survival rate for women 20 years old and older who were diagnosed between 2011 to 2017 is 90.3 percent .

Because breast cancer is so rare in teens, doctors and teens may adopt a watch-and-wait approach, and delay treatment. That may account for the lower survival rate for teens with breast cancer compared with adult women with the condition.

Breast cancer is extremely rare in teens, but you should still check abnormalities. Adopting certain habits now can also help prevent breast cancer later. These include:

What Research Is Underway To Help Young People With Breast Cancer

Researchers at the Young and Strong Program for Young Adults with Breast Cancer are engaged in a variety ofstudies to better understand the biology of breast cancer in young adults, develop more effective treatments, and improve outcomes for patients.

In 2016, Ann Partridge, MD, MPH, founder and director of the Young and Strong Program, launched the first multi-institutional study of young women with breast cancer in the United States. Helping Ourselves, Helping Others: The Young Womens Breast Cancer Study enrolled more than 1,300 women age 40 and under with newly diagnosed breast cancer between 2006 and 2016. The goal of the study is to gain a deeper knowledge of breast cancer in young women from diagnosis through treatment and into survivorship, including how biologic differences and psychosocial factors impact both short- and long-term health and quality of life.

Another study by researchers in the Young and Strong Program found that concerns about fertility often influence how young women with breast cancer approach treatment decisions and are a reason for declining or delaying hormone-blocking therapy. The findings underscore the need for physicians to talk with patients about their overall life priorities not just cancer treatment priorities including fertility-related goals. This helps patients to address them in treatment plans, not only at the start of treatment but during its entire course.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Breast Cancer In Young Women

A: Although it is extremely rare, four women under the age of 20 were diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia in 2020. . Breast cancer is more common in women over 50.

A: Breast cancer in teenagers is extremely rare with only four cases reported in Australia in 2020. In 2020 in Australia 19,807 women were diagnosed with breast cancer, 99 were in their 20s and 889 were in their 30s. Although teenagers may experience lumps when their breasts develop, these are more than likely to be benign, meaning theyre harmless. If you are concerned, talk to your GP or local family cancer clinic.

A: Yes. Although it is uncommon, it is possible for women in their 20s to get breast cancer. In 2020, 99 women aged between 20-29 were diagnosed with the disease in Australia, making up less than 1% of all women diagnosed.

A: It is important that young women know the changes in their breasts that could indicate the presence of breast cancer. One of the most effective methods of early detection of breast cancer for young women is being breast aware, knowing the feel and look of their breast so any new or unusual change can be detected. Common changes that could be due to breast cancer include:

These changes do not necessarily mean a young woman has breast cancer. However, if a young woman notices these, or any other, changes in the breast, she should see her doctor. See here for more information on breast cancer symptoms.

See here for more information on breast cancer symptoms.

Younger Women Get Breast Cancer Too

How to Detect Breast Cancer

At only 41, the wife of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was diagnosed with breast cancer. Casey DeSantis, a mother of three, might seem young to have this disease. But is she?

Although its sometimes thought of as an older womans disease, breast cancer affects women of all ages. About one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. And about 9 percent of new breast cancer cases in the United States are diagnosed in women under 45.

Breast cancer looks different among these younger women. It is more often tied to family history and genetics, and its more likely to be serious.

A 2019 study that analyzed more than 1 million cases of breast cancer found that women under 40 were nearly twice as likely as those age 50 to 64 to be diagnosed with the aggressive forms of breast cancer known as triple-negative.

Understanding your personal breast cancer risk, along with testing and treatment options, may help ease the anxiety many women feel in the wake of Casey DeSantis diagnosis.

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She Says That For Medical Reasons Fifty Is A Good Age To Start Breast Screening

A few younger women, whose breast cancer couldn’t be seen on a mammogram, discussed other diagnostic tests that they’d had . Several believed that both mammograms and ultrasound scans should be used on younger women since ultrasound scans could sometimes detect tumours in younger women that mammograms couldn’t. A few women thought that better evidence for the reliability of mammograms in this age group was needed, before lowering the breast screening age. Research is being carried out to establish whether screening women from age 40 has benefits. Some people wondered whether the NHS was trying to save money by not screening women under 50. Many felt strongly that younger women should be breast aware.

Many believed that women with a family history of breast cancer should attend for screening before 50 and some had started regular breast screening before then because of a family history of breast cancer. A few talked about family history and the possibility of being tested for faulty genes that can cause breast cancer.

Breast Lumps In Teenagers

It can be normal to feel lumps when your breasts are developing and these often disappear on their own.

If a lump causes you any discomfort, appears to get bigger or youre worried about it, talk to someone such as your GP. You may also want to talk to someone in your family or a school nurse.

Although its very unlikely that theres anything wrong, a doctor can check it out and should put your mind at rest. You can ask to see a female doctor or the practice nurse if this will make you feel more comfortable.

Very occasionally lumps are a sign of a benign breast condition. Benign means harmless, and a benign condition will not become a breast cancer. The most common benign lump as the breasts are developing is known as a fibroadenoma.

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Collecting Your Family History

Your mother is an important figure in your cancer risk profile if she has or has had breast cancer. But, given the above, itâs also helpful to find out if cancer has affected other family members, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Donât assume that you know this informationitâs worth specifically asking.

For the purpose of building your own family history, you need to know:

  • What type of cancer a relative had
  • What age they were diagnosed
  • If they were cured, still living with cancer, or have died

Other details, such as the grade, type, and stage of cancer are not as important for you to know. If you develop breast cancer, your medical team will identify your own grade, type, and stage rather than relying on your family history.

If your mother or father are alive and able to share your familyâs background with you, filling out the Cancer Family History Questionnaire that was created by the American Society of Clinical Oncology can help you keep track of the information. Once you gather your family history, it would be useful to keep that record for yourself and for other family members who share some of your family medical history.

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What’s The Best Way For Younger Women To Screen For Breast Cancer

Thousands of young women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year | USA TODAY

The American Cancer Society recommends that all women know how their breasts look and feel and report any changes to their doctor. The ACS states that research has not shown a clear benefit of performing regular breast self-exams. Talk with your doctor about the pros and cons of breast self-exam.

Regular breast exams done at least every 3 years by your doctor are recommended for women beginning at age 20. Expert groups donât all agree when women should start getting mammograms and you should discuss with your doctor whatâs right for you. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening every 2 years from ages 50 through 74 and also that the decision to start yearly screening mammograms before age 50 should be an individual one..

Talk to your doctor about when you should begin to have mammograms. For younger women, digital mammography may be an alternate to a standard mammogram. Digital mammography is better able to see abnormalities in dense breast tissue.

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Fertility And Breast Cancer Treatment

Some medications and therapies for breast cancer can cause the ovaries to stop producing eggs or adversely affect a developing embryo. Because of this, some young women with breast cancer may want to discuss fertility preservation options when creating a treatment plan with a healthcare team.

There are a few discussion points to consider in this context.

According to a clinical review that appears in the journal JCO Oncology Practice, using gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists before and during chemotherapy may reduce the risk of ovarian insufficiency.

Some women may choose to freeze their eggs, ovarian tissue, or embryos through cryopreservation methods.

For those who wish to become pregnant, treatments including tamoxifen and HER2 therapies require delaying pregnancy until a specified time after stopping the medications.

What Are The Survival Rates For Younger Women With Breast Cancer

Overall survival from breast cancer has increased in recent years. The most recent data shows that about 90 per cent of women aged between 40 and 69 years at diagnosis will be alive five years after their diagnosis. However, for women younger than 40 years, survival is lower because their breast cancers are often larger at diagnosis and more aggressive. Of younger women diagnosed with breast cancer, about 82 per cent of those aged 20 to 29 years and 84 per cent of those aged 30 to 39 years will be alive five years after diagnosis.

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Detecting Breast Cancer In Younger Women

While theres no way to predict who will get breast cancer, some factors put women at higher risk at a younger age. Breast cancer risk is higher in women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancers at a young age or who have an Ashkenazi Jewish heritage. Having had radiation therapy in the chest is another important risk to know about.

There are some steps you can take, including discussing your family cancer history with your doctor and taking advantage of genetic testing for BRCA and other genetic mutations, if offered, based on your health and family history.

Through research, we are learning more about cancer, genetics, and risk factors, says Dr. Andrejeva-Wright. Young women should be aware of their family history and keep their doctors updated over time as it changes.

Also, while guidelines no longer call for monthly at-home breast exams, Dr. Andrejeva-Wright urges women of all ages to be breast aware. She advises women to do a breast self-exam at least quarterly and to learn all they can about their risk factors.

Breast awareness entails knowing your family history of breast and other cancers, says Dr. Andrejeva-Wright, It also means knowing any behavioral factors that may increase your risk of developing breast cancer, such as weight gain and alcohol consumption , and doing something about it.

Clinical Trials For Young Women With Breast Cancer

What It

Research is ongoing to improve fertility preservation and breast cancer treatment for young women.

After discussing the benefits and risks with your health care provider, you may want to consider joining a clinical trial.

If you are considering a clinical trial of fertility preservation, talking with a fertility specialist is also helpful.

Susan G. Komen® Breast Care Helpline

If you or a loved one needs information or resources about clinical trials, call the Komen Breast Care Helpline at 1-877 GO KOMEN or email . in collaboration with Susan G. Komen® offers a custom matching service. This matching service can help find clinical trials for fertility preservation.

Learn more about clinical trials.

Komen Perspectives

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Brain And Spinal Cord Tumors

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. Spinal cord tumors are less common than brain tumors in all age groups.

Brain tumors can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, blurred or double vision, dizziness, seizures, trouble walking or handling objects, and other symptoms.

Breast Cancer Risks For Younger Women

If you are under the age of 45, several factors may put you at a higher risk for breast cancer. These include having:

  • Close relatives who were diagnosed with breast cancer before 45 or ovarian cancer at any age. Your risk is higher if more than one relative was diagnosed or if a male relative had breast cancer.

  • Ashkenazi Jewish heritage.

  • Radiation therapy to your breast or chest in childhood or as a young adult.

  • Already had breast cancer or other breast health problems, such as lobular carcinoma in situ, ductal carcinoma in situ, atypical ductal hyperplasia or atypical lobular hyperplasia.

  • A mammogram that has shown you have dense breasts.

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She Discusses Feeling Isolated As She Did Not Know Women Of Her Own Age With Breast Cancer

And then after my operation I was – I kind of wanted to find someone that was local, that was Indian, that had had a mastectomy, that was similar to my age. Which a breast care nurse found, she kept records and she put me in touch with a lady that’s local and she rang me up, and she was really useful and really helpful. She’d had a mastectomy and she’d had the same chemo that I was having, so it was really good talking to her, and she was very positive.She had very young children, her son was only three. It was nice to think you’re dealing with it, it helps.

Several younger women with breast cancer noted that some of their concerns were different to older women with breast cancer. Talking to young children about breast cancer, breast reconstruction and fertility were some of the issues important to younger women.

Some women who’d had breast cancer wished they had started breast screening earlier. One of these had her first mammogram privately at 40 and the second one privately at 50. She wished she had been screened in the intervening years because her cancer might have been detected earlier. Some women felt that screening every three years was too infrequent.

What Services Are Available Specifically For Young People With Breast Cancer

More younger women are getting more aggressive breast cancer and the unique issues they face

The Young and Strong Program for Young Adults with Breast Cancer provides comprehensive care, support, and educational services for patients diagnosed at age 45 and under. Clinical services include genetic testing and counseling, fertility and reproductive services, education, and survivorship counseling. The care team is experienced in helping young adults manage breast cancer during pregnancy and in treating young patients with metastatic breast cancer.

The program offers a variety of support and educational resources geared to the needs of young adults, including a telephone support group, the SoulMates peer support program, a young adult support group, and more. Patients can also take advantage of resources such as nutrition services, integrative therapies, a sexual health program, exercise classes, and spiritual care.

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Risk Factors To Consider

You may be more likely to get diagnosed with breast cancer at an early age if you have a mother, sister, or another close family member who was diagnosed with breast cancer before age 45.

You may also have a higher risk of diagnosis if you have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation. The BRCA genes help fix damaged DNA. When theyre altered, the DNA in the cells can change in ways that lead to cancer. Experts link these mutations to an increased risk for breast and ovarian cancers.

Breast cancers that arise from BRCA mutations are more likely to start early and to be more aggressive. Up to 45 percent of those with a BRCA2 mutation, will develop breast cancer by age 70.

Treatment with radiation to the chest or breast as a child or teenager can also increase your risk.


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