Young Women and Breast Cancer

Young women can and do get breast cancer. I was 35 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  While breast cancer in young women accounts for a relatively small percentage of all diagnosed breast cancer cases, nevertheless young women need to become informed of the signs and risks and become advocates for their own health. The worrying fact is that many young women and often their doctors are still unaware that they are at risk for breast cancer. The risk for younger women is heightened by the fact, that there is no breast cancer screening tool for women under 40 and consequently, as in my own case, they are frequently diagnosed at a later stage than their older conterparts.

Diagnosing breast cancer in younger women is more difficult because their breast tissue is generally denser than the breast tissue in older women. By the time a lump in a younger woman’s breast can be felt, the cancer often is advanced. Many women assume they are too young to get breast cancer. In my own case, my GP  dismissed my breast lump as a cyst and adopted a wait and see attitude which delayed my diagnosis and treatment. Sadly, this is an all too common case for younger women.

Early detection and prompt treatment  can significantly improve a woman’s chances of surviving breast cancer. More than 90% of women whose breast cancer is found in an early stage will survive, and for that reason we should never underestimate the importance of educating and informing women of their risks and the signs to look out for.