No age group is exempt from the incidence of breast cancer.
Not every breast cancer patient has graying hair and wrinkles. Mammograms used to be 'an older woman's thing' and far removed from the daily concerns of young women. Sadly, even with the more modern approaches to prevention, young women as young as twenty are diagnosed with breast cancer and the number is on the rise.
Breast Cancer Challenges for Young Women
Statistics show that breast cancer is on the rise in young women, with about 7% of breast cancer cases being diagnosed in women under 40 each year. No matter what age you are diagnosed with breast cancer, the news is shocking to say the least, but for those young women in their late teens, twenties and thirties; it is even more so because it isn't traditionally a young woman's disease. In addition, young women's tumors tend to be more agressive than those of older women. Young women are also less likely to get mammograms or worry about the disease.
The current statistics of breast cancer in young women are rather alarming as this was once a serious illness that only affected older women, especially those approaching or past menopause, but today we see younger women with breast cancer.
Despite the fact that the incidence of breast cancer in the very young is rising, there isn't very much information to assist them because most of the medical research involves post-menopausal women with breast cancer. Books and research studies on the subject are directed toward an older age group. Likewise, the majority of support groups involve older women also, meaning that these young victims of breast cancer may feel quite alone.
Cancer.net offers additional information and breast cancer resources for young women is well worth looking up. It showcases the individual stories of many young women's journeys with the disease.
Young women with a family history of breast cancer should learn as much as they can about the disease. There is plenty of good general support and advice available online which will assist you with information about diagnosis, various treatments and possible medication side effects and how to manage them as well as put you in touch with professional counselors that can assist you with your concerns.
Although having breast cancer is a challenge at any age, being diagnosed in your twenties and thirties is a very different experience because it affects young lives differently than it does older women with cancer. Young women with cancer have a completely different set of things to deal with including their career goals, education and family plans to name just a few. These women are at the start of their adult lives when they may be having children, finishing college or traveling. The process of coming to terms with breast cancer treatments and the side effects including their altered bodies as well as sexuality and intimacy issues at a young age is difficult.
Being fully informed about breast cancer as well as being familiar with and knowing your own breasts is essential, especially in those women with a history of breast cancer in their family. Obviously any unusual changes you notice should be reported immediately to your doctor. For those young women and teenagers with breast cancer, the best advice is to keep positive, since this seems to be the common denominator between survivors of breast cancer; young and old alike. A survivor's attitude is essential.