“Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide as well as in the United States. Breast cancer mostly occurs in women above 50 yrs old so there is sometimes a false sense of security in younger women that they are not at risk.”
Yara V. Robertson, MD, FACS, is a fellowship-trained breast surgical oncologist, board certified in general surgery by the American Board of Surgery. She is also a fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS).
Dr. Robertson is passionate about eliminating disparities in breast cancer treatment, especially in the African American community. She lectures on breast health and participates in a number of health fairs providing free clinical breast exams.
“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
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