Why Does Cancer Risk Increase With Age
Over time, the cells in our body can become damaged. This can happen by chance when cells are dividing as usual. Its also caused by things from outside the body such as chemicals from cigarette smoke or UV rays from the sun.
Often this damage can be fixed by our body. But sometimes the damage builds up and can cause cells to grow and multiply more than usual, causing cancer.
As we age, theres more time for damage in our cells to build up, and so more chance that some of this damage might eventually lead to cancer.
The good news is survival is on the up. And thanks to research, treatments are now kinder and more effective than ever.
And dont forget that 4 in 10 cancer cases in the UK could be prevented. Things like stopping smoking, keeping a healthy weight, eating a healthy balanced diet, staying safe in the sun, drinking less alcohol, and keeping active can all help reduce the risk of cancer. And its never too late to make changes.
For Women Who Have Had Mantle Radiation:
- a clinical breast exam every six months beginning at the time of your radiation treatment
- an annual mammogram starting eight years after your radiation treatment
- possible annual breast MRI
All women at above-average breast cancer risk should speak with their doctor about additional screening tests, perform a monthly self breast exam, and become familiar with their breasts so they are better able to notice changes.
MSK offers a comprehensive program for women at increased breast cancer risk, including regular breast exams and imaging. It allows any developments to be identified and dealt with right away.
Surgeries For Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is cancer that develops in breast cells. Typically, the cancer forms in either the lobules or the ducts of the breast.
Lobules are the glands that produce milk, and ducts are the pathways that bring the milk from the glands to the nipple. Cancer can also occur in the fatty tissue or the fibrous connective tissue within your breast.
Surgery is the most common treatment for breast cancer besides other treatments such as chemotherapy, targeted therapy, radiation, or hormone therapy.
There are several types of breast surgeries that may be used to remove breast cancer. They include
This procedure removes the tumor and some surrounding tissue, leaving the rest of the breast intact.
Lumpectomy is a type of breast-conserving surgery, which entails removing a tumor in a breast and a small amount of normal tissue around it.
In this surgery type, a surgeon removes an entire breast. In a double mastectomy, both breasts are removed.
Sentinel node biopsy
This surgery removes a few of the lymph nodes that receive drainage from the tumor. These lymph nodes will be tested. If they dont have cancer, you may not need additional surgery to remove more lymph nodes.
Axillary lymph node dissection
When lymph nodes removed during a sentinel node biopsy contain cancer cells, the doctor may as well remove additional lymph nodes.
Contralateral prophylactic mastectomy
Your individual anatomy and chest shape.
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The Malm Breast Cancer Database
The study cohort consists of all cases of invasive female breast cancer in Malmö, Sweden, diagnosed between 1 January 1961 and 31 December 1991. They were all treated at the same institution, Malmö University Hospital, and no referrals were made to or from the hospital for patients with breast cancer. All residents in Sweden are registered by a unique 10-digit ID number. Breast cancer patients were identified by review of clinical notes and record-linkage with the Swedish Cancer Registry, forming the basis of the Malmö Breast Cancer Database. This was all completed by one surgeon, who also validated all breast cancer diagnoses by reviewing histological material, X-ray examinations, and medical records . The present study was approved by the regional ethical committee in Lund, Sweden .
What Is A Young Adult Cancer
There is no strict definition of what separates childhood cancers from cancers in young adults, or when exactly a person is no longer a young adult. 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. The most common cancers in older people are cancers of the skin, lung, colon and rectum, breast , and prostate . Many cancers in older adults are linked to lifestyle-related risk factors or to other environmental factors. A small portion are strongly influenced by changes in a persons genes that they inherit from their parents.
Cancers that start in children or in teens are much less common. The types of cancers that develop in children and teens are often different from the types that develop in adults. Childhood cancers are often the result of gene changes that take place very early in life, sometimes even before birth. Unlike many cancers in adults, cancers in children and teens are not strongly linked to lifestyle or environmental risk factors.
The types of cancers that occur in young adults are a mix of many of the types that can develop in children, teens, and older adults.
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Menstrual And Reproductive History
Starting menstrual periods at a younger age or going through menopause at a later age raises the bodys exposure to these hormones, which can increase a persons risk of breast cancer.
Females who have never given birth at full-term and those who had their first full-term pregnancy after the age of 30 years also have a higher risk of breast cancer, according to the NCI.
Risk For Different Age Groups
Although females are more likely to develop breast cancer after they reach the age of 50 years, younger women can also develop this condition.
According to the NCI, the risk that a doctor will diagnose breast cancer in a female in the United States within the next 10 years is:
- 1 in 227 for those aged 30 years
- 1 in 68 for those aged 40 years
- 1 in 42 for those aged 50 years
- 1 in 28 for those aged 60 years
- 1 in 26 for those aged 70 years
The also report that of the 437,722 females that doctors diagnosed breast cancer in between 2012 and 2016:
- 1.9% were aged 2034 years
- 8.4% were aged 3544 years
- 20.1% were aged 4455 years
- 25.6% were aged 5564 years
- 24.8% were aged 6574 years
- 13.7% were aged 7584 years
- 5.6% were aged 84 years+
Age is just one risk factor for developing breast cancer. Some other risk factors that people cannot control include:
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Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer can have several symptoms, but the first noticeable symptom is usually a lump or area of thickened breast tissue.
Most breast lumps are not cancerous, but it’s always best to have them checked by a doctor.
You should also see a GP if you notice any of these symptoms:
- a change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
- discharge from either of your nipples, which may be streaked with blood
- a lump or swelling in either of your armpits
- dimpling on the skin of your breasts
- a rash on or around your nipple
- a change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast
Breast pain is not usually a symptom of breast cancer.
Find out more about the symptoms of breast cancer.
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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Screening Guidelines For Women At Above
MSKs breast cancer experts have developed separate guidelines for women who have a higher-than-average breast cancer risk for the following reasons:
- family history of breast cancer in a first-degree relative
- history of atypical hyperplasia
- history of lobular carcinoma in situ
- history of mantle radiation before the age of 32
- genetic predisposition for breast cancer
If you have an above-average risk of breast cancer for the reasons listed above, MSK doctors recommend the guidelines below.
Who Should Have A Regular Screening Mammogram
The biggest risk factors for developing breast cancer are being a woman and getting older. BreastScreen Australia targets women aged 50 to 74, as 75% of all breast cancers occur in women over the age of 50.
- Screening mammograms are often less reliable for women under 40 years of age. The density of breast tissue in younger women often makes it difficult to detect cancers on mammograms.
- All women aged 40 to 49 years who have no breast symptoms also have free access to the BreastScreen Australia program should they choose to a have a screening mammogram.
- All women aged 50 to 74 years are encouraged to have a free mammogram every two years through BreastScreen Australia.
- Women aged 75 and over who have no breast symptoms also have free access to the BreastScreen Australia program. They should discuss whether to have a mammogram with their doctor.
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Watch: Breast Cancer Charity Urges Young Women To Get To Know Their Bodies
How often should we be checking our breasts?
Coppafeel! recommends that checking your breasts should become a monthly habit.
“By checking on a regular basis, you will also build the confidence of knowing what is normal for you each month. Everyone has to start somewhere, so dont worry if youre not feeling confident straight away,” the charity explains.
Detection And Diagnosis Of Breast Cancer In Young Women
Organised breast cancer screening aims to detect breast cancers at an early stage in women. In Australia, population-based screening is performed by BreastScreen Australia and involves mammograms . As there is currently insufficient evidence that mammography is an effective nation wide breast cancer screening strategy for young women, routine breast screening for under 40s is not offered.
An effective method for early detection of breast cancer in young women is breast awareness. Women of all ages should become aware of how their breasts normally look and feel, and to report any new or unusual changes) to their general practitioner without delay.
Young women classified as being at high risk of developing breast cancer should discuss an individual routine screening program with their general practitioner. Breast imaging use to investigate breast symptoms or for surveillance of young women may include breast ultrasounds, breast mammograms and breast MRIs.
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Category : Potentially High Risk
Less than 1% of women are in this group.
Women in this group have a family history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer occurring in:
- Two first- or second-degree relatives on the same side of the family, plus
One or more of the following features:
- Additional relatives with breast cancer or ovarian cancer
- A relative with both breast and ovarian cancer
- Breast cancer diagnosed before the age of 40
- Breast cancer affecting both breasts
- Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry
- Breast cancer in a male relative
- A relative who has tested positive for a high-risk gene mutation e.g. a mutation in genes such as
- BRCA1 or BRCA2
The risk of developing breast cancer in this group is potentially higher than that of the general population.
Category : At Or Slightly Above Average Risk
95% of women are in this group.
Women in this group have:
- No family history of breast cancer, or
- Family history of breast cancer occurring in:
- One first-degree relative at age 50 or older, or
- One second-degree relative at any age, or
- Two first or second-degree relatives over the age of 50, on different sides of the family, or
- Two second-degree relatives on the same side of the family, both with breast cancer at age 50 or older
The risk of developing breast cancer in this group is the same or only slightly higher than the average woman in the general population.
90% of women in this group will not develop breast cancer.
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Family History Of Breast Cancer
Having a family history of breast cancer increases a persons risk of developing the condition themselves.
A females risk almost doubles if they have a first degree relative who has had breast cancer and if they have two first degree relatives who have had it. First degree relatives are parents, siblings, and children and can include males.
The recommend genetic testing for females with a family history of breast, ovarian, fallopian tube, or peritoneal cancer.
Common Breast Cancer Issues Affecting Young Women
While breast cancer in women under 40 is relatively uncommon, the impact of the disease on a young womans life is devastating. Young women face a unique set of practical, physical and emotional challenges, including:
Employment, Financial and Career
A diagnosis of breast cancer is often difficult for a young woman to communicate in the workplace. It can have a detrimental effect on a young womans career progression and future earning potential. Extended periods of time off work during the early stages of a career can negatively impact on professional development, resulting in lost opportunities for career advancement and pay rises. Breast Cancer Network Australia have further resources to provide emotional and practical support for people affected by cancer, including information and personal stories about young women with breast cancer.
The impact of treatment on fertility, early menopause and pregnancy
The impact of chemotherapy on fertility depends on a number of factors, including the womans age and the type of drugs she receives. The effects experienced can also vary among different women of the same age.
Treatment with hormonal therapies do not cause a woman to become infertile. However, a womans fertility may decrease while taking hormonal therapies. Most hormonal therapies for breast cancer are given for 5 years to prevent cancer recurrence. After 5 years, it is possible that a womans fertility may have decreased naturally.
Physical burden of breast cancer
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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.
I Have Had Breast Cancerwhat Does This Mean For My Daughter
Many women who have had breast cancer are concerned about the risk that this diagnosis carries for their daughters. You can estimate your daughters risk of breast cancer using the information in this brochure to determine her risk category. She may be above the average risk if you were diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 50, or if a number of your relatives have developed breast or ovarian cancer.
Your daughter should speak to her doctor in more detail about her individual risk. It is possible that mammograms every year rather than every two years will be recommended. She may need to start having mammograms at an age younger than 40-50, depending on how old you were when your breast cancer was diagnosed. Starting regular breast x-rays 5-10 years before your age at diagnosis is a useful rule of thumb. Finally, if the family history is stronger, the doctor may suggest a referral to a family cancer clinic.
Westmead Breast Cancer Institute 8890 6728
Westmead Hospital Familial Cancer Service 8890 6947
Cancer Council Cancer Helpline 13 11 20
BreastScreen Australia 13 20 50
NSW Genetics Education Program 9926 7324
If you are in a country area, the services above will help you find your closest family cancer clinic.
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