Breast cancer has long been thought of as a disease for women past the menopausal age. In fact, it has been a longstanding belief that the older the woman is, the more prone she is to get breast cancer. Incidence of the disease occurs in women above the age of 40 and diagnosing new cases tends to peak when the women reach over the age of 70.
Given these figures, it is no wonder that many young women believe themselves to be invisible to breast cancer. The American Cancer Society cites that less than five percent of breast cancer incidence are diagnosed in women younger than the age of 40. Yet while incidence rates are currently stable, the fact of the matter is that the cancer is not exclusive to women of a certain group: even younger women can get it too.
While this isn’t necessarily new information, this crucial piece of data is important as it has a more significant impact. When breast cancer afflicts younger patients, it would also take away their child-bearing abilities. While women past the menopausal age are not concerned about their ability to conceive, this issue is foremost in the minds of younger patients. These ladies may still be in school, living with their parents, or even just starting out their career. Going through cancer treatment, therefore, can cause infertility issues and limit their chances of being able to conceive.
As a result, upon diagnosis of their disease, these younger patients would have to cover all the bases to ensure that they would still be able to have a family later on in their life. If they wanted to have children, then they can look into options such as having their eggs frozen in fertility clinics. They also have to consider the impact of their treatment and how it would affect their day-to-day lives.
Given that mammograms and other tests are not routine for younger patients, their only hope for early diagnosis would be to have symptoms such as leaking breasts, feeling actual lumps, or having positive results for genetic testing that are linked to breast cancer. Unfortunately, even testing is not in the periphery of most young women’s minds if they are not at high risk of getting breast cancer. As such, these cases would often fester on their own until it comes to the point that an actual symptom was felt, and the patient would find out that it is an aggressive form of breast cancer that was diagnosed too late.
Further Reading: Getting Screened for Breast Cancer- Do It Now!
As such, it is imperative that we reiterate time and time again that young women can also get breast cancer. While doing so, we would be able to spread awareness and have more women step into clinics for routine checkups to assess their health. This way, they would have a better chance of conquering the disease, particularly if it is detected early and has not yet spread to other parts of the body. More lives would be saved, and more life dreams would be achieved.