Risk Factors For Breast Cancer
The following factors can result in a higher risk of breast cancer, from the teenage years and up:
- A family history of breast cancer, particularly in a mother, sister or daughter
- Getting your first period before age 12
- Mutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene
- Radiation treatments to the chest
- Heavy alcohol use
Teenagers may be relieved to learn that despite popular belief, you dont increase your risk of breast cancer by:
- Injuring your breast
- Carrying a cell phone in your breast pocket
How Is Breast Cancer Treated In Younger Women
Treatment decisions are made based whether or not it has spread beyond the breast, as well as the womans general health and personal circumstances.
Treatment options include:
Radiation is generally used following a lumpectomy, and chemotherapyand hormone therapy often are recommended after surgery to help destroy any remaining cancer cells and prevent a return.
No History Of Breastfeeding
If you breastfed, your risk of developing breast cancer may be reduced, especially if you did it for a year or longer. Breast cancer reduction is just one of many benefits associated with breastfeeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for about the first six months of life, then continuing to breastfeed, supplementing with appropriate foods, for one year or longer.
What to do: Consider breastfeeding, if possible, as it also protects your baby from many diseases.
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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
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.
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Clinicopathologic Features Biology And Prognosis
The comparison of clinicopathologic and prognostic features of breast cancer arising in younger women with those in their older counterparts has been the subject of published studies for decades.- Traditionally, breast cancer arising in a younger host is characterized by a more aggressive phenotype. Among 185 premenopausal women carrying a diagnosis of invasive breast cancer, referred for surgery at the European Institute of Oncology from April 1997 to August 2000, those aged less than 35 years had a higher percentage of ER-negative , progesterone receptor -negative , vascular or lymphatic invasion and pathologic grade 3 tumors compared with women aged 35-50 years. Differences in tumor size, lymph node involvement, and Her2/neu status between younger and older women diagnosed with breast cancer have been less clear.-
What Are The Factors That Put A Woman At Higher Risk For Developing 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
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Breast Pain Is Also Common In Teens
Developing breasts can be uncomfortable and even painful at times. For some teens, breast pain is affected by changing hormone levels. Typically, its worst just before a period but then subsides afterward. For others, the pain can occur at any time. Even an ill-fitting bra can cause breasts to hurt.
What Are The Signs Of Breast Cancer
A woman who has breast cancer may have no problems, or she may find a painless lump in her breast. If women examine their breasts monthly, they can help find lumps or other changes that a doctor should examine.
Most breast lumps are not cancer, but all lumps should be checked out by a doctor to be sure. Breast lumps that are not cancer may be scar tissue or cysts or they can be due to normal breast changes associated with hormone changes or aging.
Girls who are beginning puberty might notice a lump underneath the nipple when their breasts start developing. Usually, this is a normal. You can ask a parent or your doctor about it to be sure.
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Taking Charge: Who Gets Breast Cancer
There are no rules about who gets this disease. The two most significant risk factors are being a woman, and increasing age. However, there are other factors that may increase your risk, and some that may lower it.
The development of breast cancer may be influenced by factors that affect the levels of female hormones that circulate in your body throughout life. These factors include the age when you began your menstrual period, the number of times you have been pregnant, your age at first pregnancy, whether you have breastfed your children, and your level of physical activity.
Inherited Breast Cancer And Risk Reduction
Family history is a known risk factor for breast cancer, with elevated risk due to both increasing number and decreasing age of first-degree relatives affected. For example, in a large, population-based study, risk of breast cancer was increased 2.9-fold among women whose relative was diagnosed prior to age 30, but the increase was only 1.5-fold if the affected relative was diagnosed after age 60 years.90 While twin studies indicate familial aggregation among women diagnosed with breast cancer, identification of true germline mutations, including BRCA1, BRCA2, p53 , PTEN , and STK11 , are quite rare, on the order of 5%-6%.91–93 However, the management of young women at an increased risk of developing breast cancer via a germline mutation requires careful consideration, as screening, risk reduction, and implications for relatives are of upmost importance.
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What Causes Breast Cancer In Your 20s And 30s
Breast cancer happens when cells in the breast begin to grow and multiply abnormally. Changes in DNA can cause normal breast cells to become abnormal.
The exact reason why normal cells turn into cancerous cells is unclear, but researchers know that hormones, environmental factors, and genetics each play a role.
Roughly 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers are linked to inherited gene mutations. The most well known are breast cancer gene 1 and breast cancer gene 2 .
If you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, your doctor may suggest testing your blood for these specific mutations.
In some cases, breast cancer in your 20s and 30s has been found to differ biologically from the cancers found in older women.
For example, younger women are more likely to receive a diagnosis of triple-negative and HER2-positive breast cancers than older women.
more likely in adolescent and young women than in older women who have a diagnosis of early stage breast cancer.
Metastatic breast cancer means that the cancer has advanced to stage 4. It has moved beyond the breast tissue into other areas of the body, such as the bones or the brain.
Survival rates are lower for cancer that has metastasized to other parts of the body.
According to the American Cancer Society, the 5-year survival rate for women with breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body is 28 percent for all ages.
However, some signs and symptoms of breast cancer may
- changes in the skin
No Upper Age Limit For Mammograms: Women 80 And Older Benefit
- 68% of women who had regular mammograms were diagnosed with stage I breast cancer
- 56% of women who got mammograms irregularly and 33% of women who DIDNâT get mammograms were diagnosed with stage I disease
- 32% of women who had regular mammograms were diagnosed with stage II, III or IV breast cancer
- 44% of women who got mammograms irregularly and 67% of women who DIDNâT get mammograms were diagnosed with stage II, III or IV disease
- Breast cancer can and does happen in older women.
- Breast cancer can be treated effectively in older women.
- No matter how old you are, mammograms, along with breast self-exams and exams by a doctor, can diagnose breast cancer early, when itâs most treatable.
- Age shouldnât be why you donât do all that you can to stay as healthy as possible.
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Treating Breast Cancer In People Age 70 And Up
Older age increases the risk of several types of breast cancer. But advancements in diagnosis and highly individualized treatment plans are increasing the odds of recovery for older patients and making it possible for many to live longer, healthier lives.
Breast surgeon Hanh-Tam Tran, M.D., explains what people age 70 and older should know about being diagnosed with breast cancer and why theres reason for hope.
Can You Get Cancer In Your 20s
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.
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How Old Do You Have To Be To Get Breast Cancer
A woman has a 12% absolute risk for developing breast cancer in her lifetime, but a womans personal cancer risk changes throughout her life. Breast cancer risk increases with age the two biggest factors for developing breast cancer are getting older and being a woman. Breast cancer doesnt just affect older women, however.
What Is Considered High Risk For Breast Cancer
According to the CDC, you are considered high risk for breast cancer if you have:
- Strong family history of breast cancer
- Inherited changes in your BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes
These two risk factors also put you at a high risk for ovarian cancer. Speak with your doctor about what you can do to reduce your risks. Options include drugs that block or decrease estrogen in your body and preventive surgery.
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What Is The Risk Of Breast Cancer In Women In Their 30s
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.
Screening And Breast Density
Screening is not routinely performed in women under 50 years.
Dense breast tissue looks solid and white on a mammogram . You cannot see through it. This makes the mammogram more difficult to read.
It means lumps or areas of abnormal tissue are harder to spot. This is why screening using mammograms is less effective for women with dense breasts.
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Risk Factors You Can Change
Being physically active can help lower your risk of getting breast cancer.
- Not being physically active. Women who are not physically active have a higher risk of getting breast cancer.
- Being overweight or having obesity after menopause. Older women who are overweight or have obesity have a higher risk of getting breast cancer than those at a normal weight.
- Taking hormones. Some forms of hormone replacement therapy taken during menopause can raise risk for breast cancer when taken for more than five years. Certain oral contraceptives also have been found to raise breast cancer risk.
- Reproductive history. Having the first pregnancy after age 30, not breastfeeding, and never having a full-term pregnancy can raise breast cancer risk.
- Drinking alcohol. Studies show that a womans risk for breast cancer increases with the more alcohol she drinks.
Research suggests that other factors such as smoking, being exposed to chemicals that can cause cancer, and changes in other hormones due to night shift working also may increase breast cancer risk.
What Is A Mammogram And Why Is It Important
A mammogram is an x-ray photo of the breast and is the most common and effective way to screen for early signs of breast cancer. Regular screenings for breast cancer are vital since early detection allows for more treatment options and a higher chance of survival. According to the Carol Milgard Breast Center, approximately 1 in 8 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with breast cancer. Women whose breast cancer is detected early have a 93% higher survival rate in the first five years of diagnosis.
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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.
Can Women In Their 30s Develop Breast Cancer
Most cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in older women. The median age for breast cancer diagnosis between 2010 and 2014 was 62 years. While uncommon, it is possible for young women to develop breast cancer.
Fewer than 5% of the total breast cancer cases in the U.S. are diagnosed in women under the age of 40.
According to Breast Cancer Facts and Figures 2017-2018 from the American Cancer Society, a 20-year-old woman has a 0.1% 10-year probability of developing invasive breast cancer. A 30-year-old woman has a 0.5% risk of developing invasive breast cancer in the next 10 years.
These figures represent absolute risk rather than personal risk of developing breast cancer.
Many other factors contribute to your personal risk for breast cancer including weight, lifestyle choices, and having dense breasts. Some women are born with BRCA1 or BRCA 2 gene mutations. Women with a BRCA1 gene mutation are at a 72% risk of developing breast cancer by the age of 80. Women with a BRCA2 mutation have a 69% risk for breast cancer.
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Inheriting Certain Gene Changes
About 5% to 10% of breast cancer cases are thought to be hereditary, meaning that they result directly from gene changes passed on from a parent.
BRCA1 and BRCA2: The most common cause of hereditary breast cancer is an inherited mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. In normal cells, these genes help make proteins that repair damaged DNA. Mutated versions of these genes can lead to abnormal cell growth, which can lead to cancer.
- If you have inherited a mutated copy of either gene from a parent, you have a higher risk of breast cancer.
- On average, a woman with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation has up to a 7 in 10 chance of getting breast cancer by age 80. This risk is also affected by how many other family members have had breast cancer.
- Women with one of these mutations are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at a younger age, as well as to have cancer in both breasts.
- Women with one of these gene changes also have a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer and some other cancers.
- In the United States, BRCA mutations are more common in Jewish people of Ashkenazi origin than in other racial and ethnic groups, but anyone can have them.
Other genes: Other gene mutations can also lead to inherited breast cancers. These gene mutations are much less common, and most of them do not increase the risk of breast cancer as much as the BRCA genes.
Inherited mutations in several other genes have also been linked to breast cancer, but these account for only a small number of cases.