Things You Can Change
Fortunately, there are risk factors for breast cancer that are under your control. These factors include:
- Sedentary lifestyle: Women who are not physically active are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
- Obesity: Older women who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer.
- Hormone replacement therapy: Women who take hormones such as estrogen or progesterone for over five years during menopause are at higher risk of developing breast cancer. Women who take oral contraceptives may also be at higher risk.
- Alcohol use: A womans risk of breast cancer may increase with the number of alcoholic drinks she consumes.
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:
What Is The Average American Womans Risk Of Being Diagnosed With Breast Cancer At Different Ages
Many women are more interested in the risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer at specific ages or over specific time periods than in the risk of being diagnosed at some point during their lifetime. Estimates by decade of life are also less affected by changes in incidence and mortality rates than longer-term estimates. The SEER report estimates the risk of developing breast cancer in 10-year age intervals . According to the current report, the risk that a woman will be diagnosed with breast cancer during the next 10 years, starting at the following ages, is as follows:
- Age 30 . . . . . . 0.49%
- Age 40 . . . . . . 1.55%
- Age 50 . . . . . . 2.40%
- Age 60 . . . . . . 3.54%
- Age 70 . . . . . . 4.09%
These risks are averages for the whole population. An individual womans breast cancer risk may be higher or lower depending on known factors, as well as on factors that are not yet fully understood. To calculate an individual womans estimated breast cancer risk, health professionals can use the Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool, which takes into account several known breast cancer risk factors.
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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.
What Matters Most To You
Your personal feelings are just as important as the medical facts. Think about what matters most to you in this decision, and show how you feel about the following statements.
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Reasons not to have chemotherapy
I want to do everything possible to treat my breast cancer.
I would rather wait and see if my cancer comes back before I have more treatment.
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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.
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.
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Possible Benefits And Risks Of Breast Screening In Women Aged 71 Or Over
We know that in women aged 50 up to their 71st birthday, about 1,300 lives are saved each year by finding breast cancer early. This means that one life is saved for every 200 women screened.
If small changes in the breast are found early, there is a good chance of recovery. But about 4,000 women each year are affected by overdiagnosis. This means screening finds a cancer that would never have become life-threatening. As women get older, overdiagnosis becomes more common. So it is more likely that women aged 71 or over could end up having treatment they do not need.
It is your choice whether or not to be screened. You can continue to be screened every 3 years if you want.
If you have previously had breast cancer, you can still be at risk. As long as you still have breast tissue, you can ask for screening every 3 years.
Get To And Stay At A Healthy Weight
Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for many types of cancer. You can control your weight with the choices you make about healthy eating and exercise:- Avoiding excessive weight gain throughout life- Balance the calories you take in with the amount of physical activity you do
If you are overweight, try to get to a healthy weight and stay there. Losing even a small amount of weight has health benefits and is a good place to start. Watching your portion sizes is an important part of weight control especially for foods high in fat and sugar. Low-fat and fat-free doesnt always mean low-calorie, so read labels and try to eat vegetables, fruits, and whole grains in the place of higher-calorie foods.
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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.
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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What Are The Risks Of Chemotherapy
Different chemotherapy medicines tend to cause different side effects. Many women do not have problems with these side effects, while other women are bothered a lot. There are other medicines you can take to treat the side effects of chemo.
Talk to your doctor about the type of chemotherapy medicine that he or she is planning to give you. Ask about any side effects that the chemo may cause.
Short-term side effects can include:
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Hair thinning or hair loss.
- Mouth sores.
- Increased chance of bruising, bleeding, and infection.
- Memory and concentration problems.
Long-term side effects of chemotherapy can include:
- Early menopause, which means not being able to have children anymore. It also can include symptoms like hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and thinning bones .
- Concentration problems that may last for many months after your treatments are finished.
- In rare cases, heart damage and a higher risk of other types of cancers, such as leukemia.
Cancer Cases By Age Groups
You can get cancer at any age, including as infants and toddlers. But cancer is mostly a disease of middle age and beyond. The median age at diagnosis is 66, meaning that half of all new cases are found before then and half are diagnosed later.
The following is the share of diagnoses for all types of cancer in the U.S. by age groups:
- Under 20: 1%
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Before Going For Breast Screening
Your breast screening appointment may be in a hospital, at a local breast screening unit, or on a mobile unit. We can help you to make a suitable appointment if you:
- need help dressing or undressing
- need wheelchair access
- have a problem getting to your appointment
- have breast implants
Please phone your local breast screening unit to discuss your needs.
Screening staff will be able to help you even if your first language is not English. We can provide information about breast screening in a range of languages and in an easy read format.
Race And Ethnicity And Breast Cancer Risk
The risk of breast cancer incidence and mortality does vary according to different ethnic and racial groups. We can see the risk for each different racial group on our bar chart above.
In general, white women are more likely to develop breast cancer. However, there are many factors involved in breast cancer risk factors and race.
We have a whole new post on Incidence and Mortality Rates by Race.
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What Age Should You Get Your First Mammogram
Mammography is the standard approach used to screen for breast cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends women at average risk for breast cancer should get yearly mammograms starting at age 45, then every other year starting at age 55. The society also suggests women could choose to have mammograms as early as 40.
Hereof, what age should a woman get her first mammogram?
Women ages 40 to 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms if they wish to do so. Women age 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year. Women 55 and older should switch to mammograms every 2 years, or can continue yearly screening.
what age should you get a baseline mammogram? So, once a baseline mammogram is taken, it then serves as a comparison for any subsequent exam. Previously, Levine says, the recommendation was for all women to have a baseline mammogram at age 35 and to begin yearly mammographic screening at age 40.
Similarly one may ask, can a 30 year old get a mammogram?
In general, women considered at normal risk and younger than the age of 30 undergo breast imaging only to evaluate areas of concern, such as palpable lumps, with ultrasound as the modality of choice. With women aged 30 and older, mammography is typically the first course of action.
Should I get a mammogram at 40?
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Treatment For Breast Cancer
Treatment options for breast cancer include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and hormone therapy. Usually, more than one is used. Treatment for breast cancer in men is similar to the treatment for breast cancer in women.
Treatment depends on several factors, including:
- whether you have had your menopause
- the type of breast cancer you have
- the size of your breast tumour in relation to your breast
- the stage of your breast cancer
- the grade of your cancer cells
- the results of tests on your cancer cells
- your age, general health and personal preferences.
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Lifetime Risks For Breast Cancer Development
This post will examine the risks for breast cancer that you can NOT change.
Most of us have heard the infamous statistic that
the risk factor for developing breast cancer is 1 in 8.
This statistic is interpreted by most women as 1 in every 8 women will develop breast cancer. However, this figure is slightly misleading and here is why
Firstly, this statistic, 1 in 8, is what is known as an absolute risk. The absolute risk measures your risk of developing a particular disease over a certain time period. The absolute risk can also be expressed as a percentage or a decimal. So, for example, take an absolute risk of 1 in 30 for developing a disease in your lifetime, this can also be expressed as a 30% risk or a 0.3 risk.
It is the over a certain time period that is a very important factor. For instance, a 30-year-old American woman does NOT have a 1 in 8 chance of developing breast cancer. In fact, the risk of breast cancer is 1 in 227 at the age of 30.
Furthermore, each individual womans risk of breast cancer is dependent on many factors both biological and environmental.
How Common Is Breast Cancer In Teens
Even in young adult women, the odds of developing breast cancer are very low. Less than 5 percent of breast cancers occur in women under 40. At age 30, the risk of developing breast cancer is 0.44 percent. There are less than 25 cases of breast cancer per year in women in each age group under 30. Among teenagers, the figure is close to zero.
These statistics mean that issues with the breasts are almost certainly due to other causes and these are often just normal development.
Other reasons a teenager might develop a lump in her breast include:
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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.