Breast cancer affects young girls, too.
The percentage of teen breast cancer patients is very low. Some published reports place the percentage of teen breast cancer patients at 1.3 in one million. Another reports the incidence of breast cancer in persons under the age of 25 at one in fifteen thousand. Generally speaking, pre-teen breast cancer and teenage breast cancer are extremely rare. Even so, it is certainly possible for a teenage girl or boy to develop breast cancer.
There are always exceptions to generalities. Studies show that the incidence of breast cancer in young women increases slightly after the age of 20, and continues to rise after the age of 25.
Is Teen Aged Diagnosis of BC on the Rise?
To date, the number of recorded cases of pre-teen breast cancer and teen breast cancer diagnosis is very low. However, there is a growing concern regarding the amount of chemicals and toxins being found in the average teenager’s body. Experts believe the high levels are due to a variety of influences. Plastic food and drink containers, cosmetics, colognes, artificial food and drink additives, air pollution (indoor and outdoor), pesticides, and many other contaminants are likely contributors. These chemicals and toxins are being labeled as “hormone disruptors.” The long term effects of these contaminants remains to be seen. The possibility of increasing teen health problems and a rise in teen breast cancer diagnosis does exist.
Breast Cancer Doesn't Always Follow Trends
Seventy percent of people that are diagnosed with breast cancer do not fall into the standard high risk categories. Age, family history, obesity, smoking, and heavy alcohol consumption are considered to be influential risk factors. Women who started their period before the age of 12 are thought to be at a higher risk. Also, there has been some association to breast cancer for women that reached menopause after the age of 55. A lack of exercise and a high fat diet during teen years have recently been associated with breast cancer risk. This is yet another reason to turn off the television or video games and encourage teens to go outside.
How to Avoid Breast Cancer
- DIET: Parents need to encourage teens to eat healthy foods and avoid junk food or fast food. People who enjoy a healthy diet and regular exercise typically display lower incidence of disease and illnesses and are considered to have a low breast cancer risk.
- EXERCISE: Walking, running and playing sports like basketball, soccer, or softball, are great exercise. A weekly backyard family game of volleyball or badminton will provide many terrific health benefits.
Fortunately, most physicians and health professionals are, finally, recognizing and emphasizing the importance of exercise and healthy eating habits as preventative, and sometimes curative, measures for many illnesses and diseases, including teen breast cancer. Healthy habits, more often than not, do lead to healthy lives.
A teen breast self exam is an important part of breast cancer awareness. Teens and young women should learn proper self exam methods and practice them regularly. Most health experts recommend performing a monthly self-breast exam. Beginning this practice during teen years will allow individuals to become familiar with their breast and recognize any changes. Some lumps and tenderness are normal, particularly during or around a woman’s menstrual cycle. Changes in skin color or texture (dimpling) and nipple discharge are not normal. Teach your teen daughter that anything that seems unusual should be discussed with a qualified medical expert.