Despite the prevailing opinions that young women don’t get breast cancer, the reality is that they can and they do.

Young Survivors Volunteering at the game

Young Survivors Volunteering at the game

Here are some important and startling facts about breast cancer in young women:

  • It is estimated that 13,110 cases of breast cancer will be in women under age 40 and 26,275 of these women will be under 45 years of age.
  • One in 20 women with breast cancer is under age 40 when diagnosed. One in 8 women diagnosed with breast cancer is younger than 45 when diagnosed.
  • Breast cancer accounts for 26% of all cancer in females 15-39 years of age and 39% of all cancer in 35-39 year olds.
  • Estimated new female breast cancer cases that result in death by age in the US in 2011 1,160

The Issues Young Women Face

Young women diagnosed with breast cancer face a myriad of issues that may significantly impact their quality and quantity of life. Some of these concerns include:

  • Young women’s breast cancers are generally more aggressive and result in lower survival rates, particularly in African-Americans and Latinas. 
  • Increasingly, evidence suggests that breast cancer before age 40 is biologically different from the majority of breast cancer that occurs in older women. 
  • Women younger than 25 may have a third type of biologically distinct breast cancer. 
  • As the incidence of young women with breast cancer is much lower than in older women, young women are often an underrepresented population in research studies. 
  • There is no effective breast cancer screening tool for women 40 and under. 
  • Body Image: It may be challenging for some women to embrace their new body after breast cancer-related surgery. 
  • Relationships & Dating: Whether married or single, intimacy issues may arise for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. 
  • Early Onset Menopause and Fertility: Chemotherapy and hormonal treatments can sometimes bring on premature menopause. Symptoms of menopause can significantly impact quality of life. Additionally, breast cancer treatment may affect a woman’s plans to have children. 
  • Financial Challenges: Breast cancer can dramatically impact a woman’s financial stability when it pertains to workplace issues, lack of health insurance or being under-insured.