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Oct 17

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control.  When cancer starts in the breast, it is called breast cancer.  Except for skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women.

Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 and older, but breast cancer also affects younger women.  About 11% of all new cases of breast cancer in the United States are found in women younger than 45 years of age.  While breast cancer diagnosis and treatment are difficult for women of any age, younger women may find this experience overwhelming.

Some young women are at a higher risk for getting breast cancer at an early age compared with other women their age.  If you are a woman younger than age 45, you may have a higher risk if:

  • You have close relatives who were diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer (particularly at age 45 or younger)
  • You have changes in certain breast cancer genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2)
  • You are of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage
  • You were treated with radiation therapy to the breast or chest in childhood or early adulthood
  • You have had breast cancer or other breast health problems such as lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS), ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), atypical ductal hyperplasia, or atypical lobular hyperplasia

If you think you are at higher risk, talk to your doctor.  Your doctor may refer you to a genetic counselor, recommend that you get screened earlier and more frequently, and consider medicines or surgeries that can lower your risk.


The Bring Your Brave Campaign provides information about breast cancer to women younger than age 45 by sharing real stories about young women whose lives have been affected by breast cancer.  For more information about breast cancer, click here to check out the CDC website.