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Breast Cancer in Young Women
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There are a very large number of organizations and websites dedicated to Breast Cancer in Young Women. This is only a partial list. We're a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education.
The National Cancer Institute coordinates the National Cancer Program, which conducts and supports research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs with respect to the cause, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of cancer, rehabilitation from cancer, and the continuing care of cancer patients and the families of cancer patients.
Young Survival Coalition (YSC) is the premier global organization dedicated to the critical issues unique to young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. YSC offers resources, connections and outreach so women feel supported, empowered and hopeful.
Episode number: 
905

(Source: Young Survival Coalition and BreastCancer.org) Young women can and do get breast cancer. While breast cancer in young women accounts for a small percentage of all breast cancer cases, the impact of this disease is widespread.  Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women ages 15 to 54.  There are more than 250,000 women living in the U.S. who were diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 40 or under, and approximately 10,000 young women will be diagnosed in the next year.

SOURCE: Young Survival Coalition / http://www.youngsurvival.org

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is an uncontrolled growth of breast cells. To better understand breast cancer, it helps to understand how any cancer can develop.

Cancer occurs as a result of mutations, or abnormal changes, in the genes responsible for regulating the growth of cells and keeping them healthy. The genes are in each cell’s nucleus, which acts as the “control room” of each cell. Normally, the cells in our bodies replace themselves through an orderly process of cell growth: healthy new cells take over as old ones die out. But over time, mutations can “turn on” certain genes and “turn off” others in a cell. That changed cell gains the ability to keep dividing without control or order, producing more cells just like it and forming a tumor.

A tumor can be benign (not dangerous to health) or malignant (has the potential to be dangerous). Benign tumors are not considered cancerous: their cells are close to normal in appearance, they grow slowly, and they do not invade nearby tissues or spread to other parts of the body. Malignant tumors are cancerous. Left unchecked, malignant cells eventually can spread beyond the original tumor to other parts of the body.

The term “breast cancer” refers to a malignant tumor that has developed from cells in the breast. Usually breast cancer either begins in the cells of the lobules, which are the milk-producing glands, or the ducts, the passages that drain milk from the lobules to the nipple. Less commonly, breast cancer can begin in the stromal tissues, which include the fatty and fibrous connective tissues of the breast.

Over time, cancer cells can invade nearby healthy breast tissue and make their way into the underarm lymph nodes, small organs that filter out foreign substances in the body. If cancer cells get into the lymph nodes, they then have a pathway into other parts of the body. The breast cancer’s stage refers to how far the cancer cells have spread beyond the original tumor.
 
Causes of breast cancer
 
Breast cancer is always caused by a genetic abnormality (a “mistake” in the genetic material). However, only 5-10% of cancers are due to an abnormality inherited from your mother or father. Instead, 85-90% of breast cancers are due to genetic abnormalities that happen as a result of the aging process and the “wear and tear” of life in general.

There are steps every person can take to help the body stay as healthy as possible, such as eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, limiting alcohol, and exercising regularly. While these may have some impact on your risk of getting breast cancer, they cannot eliminate the risk.

Developing breast cancer is not your or anyone's fault. Feeling guilty, or telling yourself that breast cancer happened because of something you or anyone else did, is not productive

Source: BreastCancer.org 

Key Point 1

All women, no matter what age, need to know their own breasts so that they can detect any changes.  In young women, breast self-exams may be the best screening tool for breast cancer.

Key Point 2

Cancer treatment decisions are very individual.  The cancer patient needs to know all of her choices, and having medical, psychological, emotional and personal support will help the person as a whole.

Medline Plus

Medline Description: 

Interactive Medical Search logoConduct an off-site search for Breast Cancer from MedlinePlus.  These up-to-date search results are based on search terms specific to Second Opinion Key Points.

 

Breast Cancer- main page – all aspects.  Includes overviews, diagnosis, treatment, coping, tutorials, etc.

Breast Reconstruction- main page – all aspects.  Includes overviews, videos, statistics, pictures and photographs, organizations, etc.

Cancer and Pregnancy- main page – all aspects.  Includes treatment, research, journal articles, etc.

Cancer Chemotherapy- main page – all aspects.  Includes overviews, coping ,related issues, tutorials, specific conditions, research, etc.

Mammography- main page – all aspects.  Includes overviews, financial issues, tutorials, law and policy, etc.

Mastectomy- main page – all aspects.  Includes overviews, videos, pictures and photographs, organizations, etc.

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