Yara V. Robertson MD, FACS
“Everyone, including the uninsured and underinsured, should receive quality breast health care.”
Breast cancer can occur in younger women and this year alone, 11% of all cases of breast cancer in the U.S. will be diagnosed in women younger than 45.
Some risk factors increase the chances of women getting breast cancer at a younger age & they should be aware of those risks. Risks include:
- Any history of the chest wall or breast radiation during childhood or early adulthood
- Close relatives diagnosed w/ breast cancer below the age of 50 or ovarian cancer diagnosed at any age, or a male w/ breast cancer in the family
- Known genetic mutations such as BRCA1 & BRCA 2 in the family
- Personal history of other beast issues such as lobular carcinoma in-situ (LCIS) or atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH), or atypical lobular hyperplasia (ALH).
- Being told you have dense breast tissue on a mammogram
If you have a higher risk, then you need to talk to a healthcare provider for options. You may be screened earlier for breast cancer, possibly sent for genetic testing, or placed in a clinic for high-risk patients.
Know your breasts. It is very important for young women to be aware of changes to their breasts. Monthly self-breast exams have been hotly contested over the past few yrs. I feel that women should practice breast self-awareness which includes:
- Knowing your risks
- Getting Screened
- Seeing a physician
- Getting a mammogram at the appropriate time
- Clinical breast exam by your provider (every 2-3 yrs for women at average risk that are younger than 40, & annually for women 40 & older
- Knowing what is normal for your breasts
- Any new changes such as lumps, skin changes like thickening, any nipple discharge, nipple retraction, scaliness or itching of the nipple, puckering of the skin
- Lifestyle choices/changes to reduce your risk
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Minimize alcohol