The young do get breast cancer
12 January, 2014 Leave a comment
SYMPTOMS OFTEN DISMISSED
While it is true that the risk of breast cancer increases with age, younger women are not spared.
In fact, 10 to 13 per cent of breast cancer patients here are below 40 years old. These young women are not recommended for routine breast cancer screening, because mammograms are less sensitive in picking up cancer in dense, young breast tissue than in older breasts.
For young women, breast self-examination with the aim of detecting symptoms, such as breast lumps or unusual nipple discharge, is typically the key to early diagnosis.
However, many young women and doctors tend to dismiss these early warning signs, because they believe the women are too young to contract breast cancer.
Hence, delays in diagnosis are all too common.
In addition, breast cancer in young women is more likely to be aggressive, high grade and unresponsive to hormonal treatment.
A combination of these factors result in poorer survival rates for young women with breast cancer than those for older women.
Doctors are typically confronted with otherwise healthy patients facing a life-threatening disease.