The Most Common Cancers In Young Adults
The types of cancers seen in young adults are not unique to this age group, but the most common types in this age range are largely different from those in children or older adults.
Some of the most common cancers in young adults are:
- Breast cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Brain and spinal cord tumors
Even within this age group, some of these cancers become more or less common as people age. For example, lymphomas are more common before age 25, whereas breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers become more common after age 25.
Many other types of cancer can occur in young adults as well.
Causes Of Breast Cancer: How Did This Happen
When youre told that you have breast cancer, its natural to wonder what may have caused the disease. But no one knows the exact causes of breast cancer. Doctors seldom know why one woman develops breast cancer and another doesnt, and most women who have breast cancer will never be able to pinpoint an exact cause. What we do know is that breast cancer is always caused by damage to a cells DNA.
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
- Bone 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.
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Are Women Under 40 At Risk For Breast Cancer
Younger women generally do not consider themselves to be at risk for breast cancer. However, breast cancer can strike at any age: 5% of breast cancer cases occur in women under 40 years of age. All women should be aware of their personal risk factors for breast cancer.
There are several factors that put a woman at higher risk for developing breast cancer, including:
- A personal history of breast cancer or a high risk lesion found by biopsy
- A family history of breast cancer, particularly at an early age
- A family history that is concerning for a genetic syndrome that may put them at a higher risk for breast cancer
- History of radiation therapy to the chest
- A known genetic mutation conferring a high risk for the development of breast cancer
- Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry
Who Gets Breast Cancer
The American Cancer Society estimates there will be about 231,840 new cases of and 60,290 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer in 2015. Nearly 150,000 people are living with in the United States. Anyone with breast can get breast cancer, even men.
People of all ethnicities get breast cancer. People with different lifestyle habits and from different walks of life develop breast cancer. People with breast cancer can be fit or , vegetarians or meat-eaters, regular exercisers or couch potatoes.
What all people with breast cancer have in common are bad copies, or mutations, in the DNA of their breast cells. DNA makes up the genes of a . It carries a set of directions that tell cells when to grow and how to stop growing.
These mutations can sometimes come from your mother or father at birth. More often, these mutations develop at some point in your life. Some people are more likely to develop a because cancers run in the family. Others who have been exposed to certain things during their lives are more likely to get a mutation. We are still learning about the causes of these mutations and why people get them.
Breast cancer is less common in women whose menstrual periods started at a later age, whose started early, who breastfed, who had children before age 30, who exercise and who are not overweight. But even these traits do not prevent breast cancerthey only give you some protection from developing it. Nothing can completely protect you.
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Ways To Prevent Breast Cancer
Breast cancer. Just reading those words can make many women worry. And thats natural.
Nearly everyone knows someone touched by the disease.
But there is a lot of good news about breast cancer these days. Treatments keep getting better, and we know more than ever about ways to prevent the disease. These eight simple steps can help lower the risk of breast cancer. Not every one applies to every woman, but together they can have a big impact.
Ovarian Ablation Or Suppression
In women who haven’t experienced the menopause, oestrogen is produced by the ovaries. Ovarian ablation or suppression stops the ovaries working and producing oestrogen.
Ablation can be carried out using surgery or radiotherapy. It stops the ovaries working permanently and means you’ll experience the menopause early.
Ovarian suppression involves using a medication called goserelin, which is a luteinising hormone-releasing hormone agonist . Your periods will stop while you’re taking it, although they should start again once your treatment is complete.
If you’re approaching the menopause , your periods may not start again after you stop taking goserelin.
Goserelin is taken as an injection once a month and can cause menopausal side effects, including:
- hot flushes and sweats
- Breast Cancer Now: Hormone therapy
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Symptoms Of Angiosarcoma Of The Breast
Another rare form of breast cancer, angiosarcoma forms inside the lymph and blood vessels. Only a biopsy may definitively diagnose this type of cancer. Angiosarcoma can cause changes to the skin of your breast, such as the development of purple-colored nodules that resemble a bruise. These nodules, if bumped or scratched, may bleed. Over time, these discolored areas may expand, making your skin appear swollen in that area. You may or may not have breast lumps with angiosarcoma. If you also have lymphedema, which is swelling caused by a buildup of lymphatic fluid, angiosarcoma may occur in the affected arm. Cancer treatment sometimes damages the lymph vessels, which may lead to lymphedema.
Light Exposure At Night
The results of several studies suggest that women who work at night factory workers, doctors, nurses, and police officers, for example have a higher risk of breast cancer compared to women who work during the day. Other research suggests that women who live in areas with high levels of external light at night have a higher risk of breast cancer.
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Do Antiperspirants Or Deodorants Cause Breast Cancer
Research has shown that parabens can build up in breast tissues. However, this study did not show that parabens cause breast cancer or find a link between parabens and deodorant use.
A 2002 study did not show any increased risk for breast cancer in women using an underarm deodorant or antiperspirant. A 2003 study showed an earlier age for breast cancer diagnosis in women who shaved their underarms more frequently and used underarm deodorants.
We need more research to give us the answer about a relationship between breast cancer and underarm deodorants and blade shaving.
If You Are Age 55 Or Over:
Mammograms are recommended every other year. You can choose to continue to have them every year.
Clinical breast exams and self-exams are not recommended. But you should be familiar with your breasts and tell a health care provider right away if you notice any changes in how your breasts look or feel.
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American Cancer Society Screening Recommendations For Women At High Risk
Women who are at high risk for breast cancer based on certain factors should get a breast MRI and a mammogram every year, typically starting at age 30. This includes women who:
- Have a lifetime risk of breast cancer of about 20% to 25% or greater, according to risk assessment tools that are based mainly on family history
- Have a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation
- Have a first-degree relative with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, and have not had genetic testing themselves
- Had radiation therapy to the chest when they were between the ages of 10 and 30 years
- Have Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Cowden syndrome, or Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome, or have first-degree relatives with one of these syndromes
The American Cancer Society recommends against MRI screening for women whose lifetime risk of breast cancer is less than 15%.
Theres not enough evidence to make a recommendation for or against yearly MRI screening for women who have a higher lifetime risk based on certain factors, such as:
- Having a personal history of breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ , lobular carcinoma in situ , atypical ductal hyperplasia , or atypical lobular hyperplasia
- Having extremely or heterogeneously dense breasts as seen on a mammogram
If MRI is used, it should be in addition to, not instead of, a screening mammogram. This is because although an MRI is more likely to detect cancer than a mammogram, it may still miss some cancers that a mammogram would detect.
What Are Breast Cancer Symptoms And Signs
The most common sign of breast cancer is a new lump or mass in the breast. In addition, the following are possible signs of breast cancer:
- Thickening or lump in the breast that feels different from the surrounding area
- Inverting of the nipple
- Nipple discharge or redness
- Breast or nipple pain
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Guidelines For Breast Cancer Screening
Breast cancer screening guidelines for average risk women have become confusing. One organization recommends that women start getting mammograms every other year at age 50 and another recommends yearly mammograms between age 45 and 55 with every other year mammograms thereafter. One reason for these differences is disagreement as to whether annual mammography in younger women can reduce the risk of dying of breast cancer. At Johns Hopkins, we continue to recommend annual mammography beginning at age 40 for average risk women,
Extra screening tests are recommended for women with higher than average risk for breast cancer. Current guidelines suggest that if you have more than a 20% risk of developing breast cancer during your lifetime you should consider adding screening breast MRI to your mammogram. Women who carry mutations in BRCA1, BRCA2, PALB2, or CHEK2 will meet this risk threshold. Other women with family history of breast cancer or a history of a breast biopsy showing high risk changes may meet this criterion as well. You can calculate your breast cancer risk online using the Gail model or the BCSC model . Breast specialists in the Johns Hopkins Breast Center have access to additional resources for calculating your breast cancer risk. At Johns Hopkins enhanced surveillance for high risk women consists of a breast exam every 6 months alternating mammograms with MRI scans.
Time To Treatment With Metastatic Breast Cancer
There is little research looking at the optimal time until treatment for metastatic breast cancer, though it appears that waiting more than 12 weeks has been linked with lower survival. In general, however, the goal of treatment with MBC is different than early stage disease. For most people, treatment for early-stage disease is aggressive, with the goal to reduce the risk of recurrence. With MBC, the goal is often to use the least amount of treatment necessary to control the disease.
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Diagnosis Of Breast Cancer
Breast changes are investigated through a series of tests organised by your doctor or specialist. Most breast changes are diagnosed as benign . If your tests show that you may have cancer, your doctor will refer you to a specialist who will advise you about treatment options.
Initial tests you may have include:
- physical examination breasts and armpits are examined
- diagnostic mammogram an x-ray of the breast tissue
- ultrasound a device that uses sound waves to scan the breast.
If further tests are required, one or more procedures may be used, including:
- Fine needle aspiration a very narrow needle is used to withdraw cells from the testing area.
- Core biopsy a larger needle is used to take a tissue sample for testing.
- Open biopsy surgery is performed under general anaesthetic to remove the whole area for testing.
- Hormone tests if a cancer is found, it can be checked for special markers called hormone receptors to see if it will respond to hormone treatment.
- Ductogram or discharge test this is for breast cancers that are causing a discharge from the nipple.
Other tests may include blood tests, bone scans and chest x-rays. Test results can take a few days to come back. It is very natural to feel anxious while waiting to get your results. It can help to talk to a close friend or relative about how you are feeling. You can also contact the Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20 and speak with a cancer nurse.
What Is Breast Cancer
The human body is made of tiny building blocks called cells. Your body creates them, replacing those that die with new ones. Usually, the body creates healthy, normal cells that do just what they’re supposed to do. This includes cells in the breasts, the two rounded areas on the front of the chest.
But if a cell changes into an abnormal, sometimes harmful form, it can divide quickly over and over again without dying, making many, many copies of itself. When this happens, a tumor, abnormal body cells grouped together in the form of a mass or lump, can start to form and grow.
Breast cancer is a kind of tumor that develops in the cells of a person’s breast. You may think that only women can get breast cancer, but because all people have breast tissue, men can get breast cancer as well but this is very rare.
Someone with breast cancer may have cancer cells in just one part of the breast, which might be felt as a lump. The cancer can spread throughout one or both breasts. Sometimes breast cancer spreads to other parts of the body, like the bones< , the liver, or elsewhere.
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How Common Is It
Breast cancer isnt common in women under 40.
A womans risk of breast cancer throughout her 30s is just 1 in 227, or about 0.4 percent. By age 40 to 50, the risk is roughly 1 in 68, or about 1.5 percent. From age 60 to 70, the chance increases to 1 in 28, or 3.6 percent.
Out of all types of cancer, though, breast cancer is the most common among U.S. women. A womans risk of developing breast cancer during her lifetime is about 12 percent.
What Tumor Factors Threaten My Life More
There are important tumor biology factors not well reflected in survival statistics by breast cancer stage. Below we list a few important factors that carry a higher risk to life beyond just the stage of cancer. You must ask your surgeon or medical oncologist to explain your receptor status and give you a copy of your biopsy pathology report.
Triple Negative Receptor breast cancer
Triple negative breast cancer is considered a more aggressive breast cancer. Invariably it does require chemotherapy. If you have triple negative breast cancer the risk of dying is higher than the standard statistics usually quoted for a particular stage of breast cancer . Learn more about Triple Negative Breast Cancer with our video lesson
HER2-Positive breast cancer
HER2-positive breast cancers are also more aggressive tumors. But the good news is that we now have incredibly effective, targeted chemotherapy and immunotherapy for HER2-positive cancers. Our video lesson covers HER2-Positive Breast Cancer in more detail .
Breast Cancer at a Young Age
Women younger than 40 have a higher chance of being diagnosed with a more advanced stage breast cancer. Also, the specific cancer type younger women develop has a higher chance of being more aggressive . As a result, age is a relative risk factor for survival.
Untreated breast cancer
Teaching everyone to be an expert in their own breast cancer care.
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Myth: Consuming Too Much Sugar Causes Breast Cancerfact: There Is No Evidence That Sugar In The Diet Causes Breast Cancer
Not just with breast cancer but with all types of cancer, theres a common myth that sugar can feed the cancer and speed up its growth. All cells, whether cancerous or healthy, use the sugar in the blood as fuel. While its true that cancer cells consume sugar more quickly than normal cells, there isnt any evidence that excessive sugar consumption causes cancer.
There was a study in mice that suggested excess sugar consumption might raise the risk of breast cancer,3 but more research is needed to establish any link in animals as well as in people.
That said, we do know that eating too much sugar can lead to weight gain, and being overweight is an established risk factor for breast cancer. In addition, some studies have linked diabetes with a higher risk of breast cancer especially more aggressive, later-stage cancers. Researchers arent sure if the link is due to that fact that people with diabetes tend to be overweight, or that they have higher blood sugar levels.
For health reasons, its always a good idea to cut down on desserts, candy, cakes, sweetened beverages, and processed foods that contain sugar. Reading labels is important, as many foods can have hidden added sugars like high-fructose corn syrup.