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Young Women and Breast Cancer

  • Women who are diagnosed at a younger age are more likely to have a mutated BRAC1 or BRAC2 gene. These genes are important in the development of breast cancer and women who carry defects on either of the genes are at greater risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer            

  • If a woman carries a defective BRAC1 or BRAC2 gene, she may have a 35 to 85% chance of developing breast cance in her lifetime.                                      

  • Having a mother, daughter, or sister who has or had breast cancer also increases a young woman's risk of developing breast cancer.                               

  • Diagnosing breast cancer in younger women can be more difficult because their breast tissue is often thicker than older women.                                                

  • Delay of diagnosis in younger women is a special problem because it is so rare for younger women to get the disease.                                                                 

  • It is important for younger women to become familiar with what their breast look and feel like through monthly breast self-exams beginning at age 20.                                                                                                              

  • If you discover a lump or notice any changes, see your health care provider.                                                                                                                           

  • Clinical breast exams are recommended for all women at age 20 and thereafter every three years.                                                                                             

  • These exams can help to detect any problems early, and may increase the chance of survival. 

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