Breast Cancer Awareness For Young & Old

Our Wellness column last week focused on October’s designation as Breast Cancer Awareness month. Authored by Central Carolina Hospital’s Breast Health Patient Navigator Danielle Spivey, it included important information about symptoms, risk factors and essential steps that can be taken in the areas of prevention and early detection.  This week, we’ll take a closer look at a resource from the Center For Disease Control for women under the age of 45, called Bring Your Brave.

First, some background —

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States. About 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer during her life. Although breast cancer mostly occurs among older women, in rare cases breast cancer does affect women under the age of 45. In fact, about 11% of all new cases of breast cancer in the United States are found in women younger than 45 years of age.

So it’s critical to be aware of the risk factors that are most commonly associated with younger women and breast cancer.

– You have close relatives who were diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 45 or ovarian cancer at any age, especially if more than one relative was diagnosed or if a male relative had breast cancer.
– You have changes in certain breast cancer genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2), or have close relatives with these changes, but have not been tested yourself.
– You have Ashkenazi Jewish heritage.
– You received radiation therapy to the breast or chest during childhood or early adulthood.
– You have had breast cancer or certain other breast health problems, such as lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS), ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), atypical ductal hyperplasia, or atypical lobular hyperplasia.
– You have been told that you have dense breasts on a mammogram.

If any of these characteristics describe you, please be sure to talk to your doctor about your family history and other risk factors. It will be vitally important for you and your health care provider to be on the same page and to remain vigilant.

The National Breast Cancer Foundation also has a great deal of information about detection, treatment and other important topics. And if you would like to speak with someone locally to find the appropriate resources and care, please feel free to contact Central Carolina Hospital at 1-800-483-6385. The team at the hospital will be happy to connect you to the right providers.