10 Things Young Women Should Know About Breast Cancer #breastcancerawarenessmonth. Many young people dread the changes that puberty brings. Young women develop breasts for the first time and may be unaccustomed to their look and feel. Some may worry about breast cancer. Here is all you ned to know about breast cancer as a young woman.
1. Know Your Breasts
Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in young women aged 15 to 34. Talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of breast self-exams. If you choose to do breast self exams, your doctor can review how to do them with you. If you know how your breasts should feel, you’ll know when there’s a significant change that means you should call your doctor.
2. Know Your Medical History
It is important to know your family history and share it with your doctor. Women with a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) with breast cancer have nearly twice the risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer as a woman who has no family history. Tell your doctor which family member(s) had breast cancer or other breast diseases, and how old they were when diagnosed.
An annual breast exam and a relationship with a trusted doctor are valuable tools for diagnosing breast-related conditions. Even teens that have several symptoms associated with breast cancer should know that these are likely due to another cause.
4. Breast Cancer vs. Normal Development
Normal breast development can resemble breast cancer, and it is not possible to tell what is normal and what is not based on a comparison of symptoms. Normal breast development, however, usually follows a pattern. It begins with nickel-sized lumps under each nipple, and the breasts gradually grow from these lumps.
5. When To See A Doctor
Delaying treatment can reduce the chances of survival as it may allow a cancer to spread. Girls concerned about their breasts should see a doctor immediately, even though teen breast cancer is rare.
6. Be Persistent
If you think you feel something, and family or doctors dismiss your concerns because you’re too young for breast cancer, it might be tempting to believe them and not seek further answers. But you have to be your own advocate.
7. Speak Up
Be your own health advocate and make sure you mention any breast changes or lumps to your doctor. Some patient concerns are dismissed because they are “too young” to have breast cancer. If you think you feel something, seek answers. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion and more information.
8. Be Positive
Thoughts of breast cancer can be scary, especially for girls when their breasts are developing. However, there is little reason for most teenagers to be anxious about breast cancer. Rather than worrying, a better strategy is to adopt a healthy lifestyle that helps to protect against breast cancer in the future.
9. Network With Other Young Women
It can feel isolating to be diagnosed with breast cancer at a younger age, but there is support available and it can be helpful to connect with other women your age who are going through what you are, or who have beat breast cancer. You can start by asking your doctor about any local support groups. In addition, you can find support groups by searching online.
10. You Can Survive Teen Breast Cancer
Breast cancer, in general, is survivable with prompt treatment. This is particularly true of noninvasive breast cancers, and of breast cancers that have not spread to other areas of the body. Treatments often include chemotherapy, radiation, medication, surgery, or a combination of these.