Breast Cancer Screening In Teens
Although it is not typically recommended for women under 40 to undergo breast screening annually, its important for those teens experiencing symptoms to receive breast screening. Regular screening done at least every 3 years is recommended for women in their 20s. However, the American Cancer Society recommends that all women know how their breasts look and feel, and report any changes to their doctors. For younger women, digital mammography is recommended rather than a standard mammogram. It is most effective at identifying abnormalities in dense breast tissues.
Puberty And Overlapping Breast Cancer Symptoms
When breasts begin to grow, they appear as a lump underneath the nipple. This is a normal part of the development process.
The breasts get bigger and rounder as the fatty tissue and milk-producing glands inside the breasts continue to grow. As the breast buds grow, you may notice tingling, aching, or itching in your chest, and your nipples may swell or become tender.
After your periods start, the changing hormones may make your breasts feel tender, swollen, or sore a week or so just before your period starts. This is all normal.
Breast Cancer Screening And Care: Dont Let Covid
Amy is a 37-year-old professional living in NYC who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She is currently undergoing treatment at NYU Langone Health. You can read more about her here.
Ruth Oratz, MD, is a medical oncologist who specializes in treating people with all stages of breast cancer, and those at an increased risk of developing cancer. She also co-leads clinical trials that foster new medical approaches and treatments for breast cancer.
Richard Shapiro, MD, provides advanced surgical care to patients with breast cancer and other forms of cancer. Through personalized treatments provided in a compassionate environment, his goal is to help people return to their everyday lives as quickly as possible. Dr. Shapiro also conducts clinical research that involves people with breast cancer and melanoma.
Hi from Amy!This week, I’m excited to introduce you to Dr. Ruth Oratz and Dr. Richard Shapiro, two key members of my care team. These renowned breast cancer experts have both spent their entire careers at NYU Langone Health.
My colleagues at NYU Langone recently Zoomed with these remarkable doctors to interview them about breast cancer screening, early detection, and treatment in the context of COVID-19.
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Risk Factors And Symptoms Of Breast Cancer In Men
Colonel Adams is a breast cancer survivor, but it might have been different if not for the urging of his wife and doctor. Male breast cancer often goes undiagnosed until it is more advanced. And because of how rare it is, it is difficult to study.
But we do know several things about men and breast cancer:
- The types of breast cancers found in men are the same as those found in women. Fortunately, this means that the research conducted for female breast cancer also applies to men. There are some differences, though.
- Most male breast cancer is driven by the estrogen hormone. That is also true for women. Men rarely get the HER2-positive type of breast cancer, however.
- The BRCA2 gene is the risk factor most often seen in male breast cancer patients.
- Other risk factors for male breast cancer include aging, genetic mutation, family history of breast cancer, radiation treatments to the chest, hormone therapy with drugs containing estrogen, obesity, liver disease, Klinefelter syndrome, and injury to or surgery of the testicles.
It isnt possible to eliminate all risk factors. Some of these, such as family history or genetic mutations, are completely out of the individuals control. Male breast cancer can be recognized early, however, if more men become aware of the risk and dont hesitate to report their symptoms to a physician.
The symptoms of male breast cancer are similar to the symptoms for women:
The Breast Cancer Research Foundation puts it like this:
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Breast Cancer In Children
Breast cancer may cause any of the following signs. Check with your childs doctor if your child has any of the following:
- A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area.
- A change in the size or shape of the breast.
- A dimple or puckering in the skin of the breast.
- A nipple turned inward into the breast.
- Scaly, red, or swollen skin on the breast, nipple, or areola .
- Dimples in the breast that look like the skin of an orange, called peau dorange.
Other conditions that are not breast cancer may cause these same signs.
What About Other Treatments That I Hear About
When you have cancer you might hear about other ways to treat the cancer or treat your symptoms. These may not always be standard medical treatments. These treatments may be vitamins, herbs, special diets, and other things. You may wonder about these treatments.
Some of these are known to help, but many have not been tested. Some have been shown not to help. A few have even been found to be harmful. Talk to your doctor about anything youre thinking about using, whether its a vitamin, a diet, or anything else.
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The Cost Of Breast Cancer Treatment For Young Women
Everyone with breast cancer is at risk for suffering from economic toxicity with the diagnosis, says Dr. Silber. At the time they are diagnosed with breast cancer, younger women are less likely to be financially sound or to have established themselves in a career that provides sick leave and paid time off theyre also likelier to have small children, she says.
If you suffer from economic challenges prior to a cancer diagnosis, breast cancer is going to make that worse, says Dr. Silber. Thats especially true for younger women who are from poorer socioeconomic backgrounds and dont have access to the services or much leeway in terms of employment, she says.
I take care of women who are young, poor, single mothers who may be working at jobs that dont have good human resources supportlike, for example, a young woman working at a mini mart at night, says Dr. Silber. She may be doing hard and not particularly safe work, and might not have health benefits.
It can be a struggle to keep a job or get a raisebreast cancer patients may become semi-unemployable due to all the medical appointments they need, she explains.
What’s The Best Way For Younger Women To Screen For Breast Cancer
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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Breast Cancer And Teenage Girls
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.
Practical Problems Abound For Young Breast Cancer Patients
In May, Elizabeth Bryndza, a 19-year-old sophomore at the College of New Jersey, underwent a bilateral mastectomy to remove both breasts. Two weeks before, she had found a lump of cancerous cells in her right breast.
“I never thought that I wouldn’t survive it,” said Bryndza, now 20. “I’m still going to be me, and I’ll fight as hard as I can.”
But there are practical problems that make younger women more vulnerable than older women to the challenges of a breast cancer diagnosis.
Young women are more likely to be treated aggressively for breast cancer than older women because, since they’ve rarely had regular screenings or mammograms, they are less likely to detect early-stage tumors. Young age is an independent risk factor for recurrent cancer, regardless of a family history of cancer, or a genetic predisposition to have BRCA gene mutations.
And since doctors see so few young women with breast cancer, there is a gap in research about fertility, early-onset menopause and other effects of diagnosis, treatment and outcomes in young women.
Young Women Feel More Invincible in the Face of Cancer
Chemotherapy may affect a young woman in many ways, including her ability to have children in the future. But for teenagers, concerns such as body image, sexuality, beauty and peers loom larger.
“At that time, as a teen, you think you’re invincible,” Bryndza said. “I sort of saw the whole thing as a big inconvenience.”
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When Will I Be Offered Breast Screening
You will become eligible for breast screening once you reach the age of 50.
Your first invitation will depend on when screening is available in your area. This is normally within 2 years of your 50th birthday.
But due to COVID-19 some people’s invitations for screening have been delayed by up to a year. You may be 53 when you get your first invitation.
If you were due to be screened in 2020, we aimed to invite you in 2021. If you were due to be screened in 2021, we will now aim to invite you in 2022.
Your details should automatically be on our register. You can check that your name is on the register or update your details.
Check your name is on the register or Freephone
The risk of breast cancer increases as you get older, all women between the ages of 50 and 69 are invited to take a mammogram every 2 years.
The incidence and mortality from breast cancer in this age group means that it is effective to screen women between the ages of 50 and 69.
Appointments in this screening round are delayed by up to a year. Read about breast screening and COVID-19
You will remain eligible for breast screening up to the age of 69. After this, you need to continue to be aware of any symptoms of breast cancer.
You should speak to your GP if you’re worried about symptoms of breast cancer. Screening is only for women who appear healthy or have no symptoms.
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Can I Lower My Risk Of Getting A Second Cancer
There’s no sure way to prevent all cancers, but there are steps you can take to lower your risk and stay as healthy as possible. Getting the recommended early detection tests, as mentioned above, is one way to do this.
Its also important to stay away from tobacco products. Smoking increases the risk of many cancers, including some of the second cancers seen after breast cancer.
To help maintain good health, breast cancer survivors should also:
What If I Have A Lump In My Breast
As you grow and develop, you will probably notice small lumps and other changes in your breasts. You might also find your breasts are sensitive and tender around the time of your period. If you feel a lump in your breast, don’t panic breast cancer is extremely rare in teens. For teen girls, the most common type of breast lump is usually just part of normal breast growth.
Lots of girls and women have something called fibrocystic breast changes. This is when small fluid-filled cysts in the breasts change size based on where a girl is in her menstrual cycle. Because these cysts have to do with normal hormone changes, they are typically more obvious and may hurt a bit just before a girl’s period. Fibrocystic breast changes are nothing to worry about and don’t need any kind of medical treatment.
Infections also can cause breast lumps. So can an injury to the breast like getting hit in the chest while playing sports.
If you’re worried about a lump in your breast, talk to your doctor. Also call your doctor if you have any of these problems:
- pain in your breast that seems unrelated to your period
- a red, hot, or swollen breast
- fluid or bloody discharge from your nipple
- a lump in your armpit or near your collarbone
Most breast lumps are nothing to worry about, but it always helps to talk to a doctor or nurse about what to expect as your breasts grow. Getting checked out gives you peace of mind.
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Checking Yourself For Breast Cancer
Breast self-exams to check for lumps and other changes can help women detect the early signs of cancer.
Even more important than looking for specific changes is knowing how your breasts feel normally. A change in their shape or texture, a new lump, or other significant change could signal a problem, including cancer.
Women should also get regular breast exams from their doctor. Those at high risk of breast cancer may need annual mammograms, although teens almost never fall into this category.
Can Breast Cancer In Younger Women Be Prevented
For women with a family history that is suggestive of a hereditary predisposition for breast cancer, a referral for genetic counseling may be appropriate. Identifying such genetic conditions will allow for a more personalized discussion on screening and preventive treatment options. For example, screening in BRCA mutation carriers begins at the age of 25.
Measures that all women can take to reduce breast cancer risk include:
- Achieving and maintaining ideal body weight
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Getting regular exercise
That being said, if breast cancer does develop, early detection and prompt treatment can significantly increase a woman’s chances of survival. More than 90% of women whose breast cancer is found in an early stage will survive.
Young women should be counseled on breast awareness and to report any breast changes to their healthcare provider. These changes can include:
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Signs And Symptoms Of Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Inflammatory breast cancer causes a number of signs and symptoms, most of which develop quickly , including:
- Swelling of the skin of the breast
- Redness involving more than one-third of the breast
- Pitting or thickening of the skin of the breast so that it may look and feel like an orange peel
- A retracted or inverted nipple
- One breast looking larger than the other because of swelling
- One breast feeling warmer and heavier than the other
- A breast that may be tender, painful or itchy
- Swelling of the lymph nodes under the arms or near the collarbone
If you have any of these symptoms, it does not mean that you have IBC, but you should see a doctor right away. Tenderness, redness, warmth, and itching are also common symptoms of a breast infection or inflammation, such as mastitis if youre pregnant or breastfeeding. Because these problems are much more common than IBC, your doctor might suspect infection at first as a cause and treat you with antibiotics.
Treatment with antibiotics may be a good first step, but if your symptoms dont get better in 7 to 10 days, more tests need to be done to look for cancer. Let your doctor know if it doesn’t help, especially if the symptoms get worse or the affected area gets larger. The possibility of IBC should be considered more strongly if you have these symptoms and are not pregnant or breastfeeding, or have been through menopause. Ask to see a specialist if youre concerned.
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A Q& a With Dr Shapiro And Dr Oratz Of Nyu Langones Perlmutter Cancer Center
The pandemic seems to be scaring people away from visiting their doctors and hospitals for non-COVID-19 care. What advice do you have for people who might be afraid to come in right now for breast cancer support?
Dr. Shapiro: Its probably safer to come to our facility for diagnostic testing or surgery than it is to go to the supermarket. We are very careful about people coming and going. Everyone wears a mask and practices social distancing, of course, but we do even more than that: We make sure that every patient and health care worker who enters our building is free of COVID-19 symptoms.
Dr. Oratz: At the start of the pandemic, some patients did delay care by a few months. Thats perfectly understandable. But we know how to deal with the virus now, and we want people to be comfortable coming to us and getting their routine screening tests. If they have any concerns about their health, they should let us know right away. If theyre due for that mammogram or colonoscopy, were here. Were open for your needs, and we are really prioritizing our patients safety.