ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

clear-night
59°
Sunny
H 73° L 57°
  • clear-night
    59°
    Current Conditions
    Sunny. H 73° L 57°
  • clear-day
    76°
    Afternoon
    Sunny. H 73° L 57°
  • clear-night
    70°
    Evening
    Clear. H 79° L 63°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Health
Q&A: Breast cancer in young women
Close

Q&A: Breast cancer in young women

Q&A: Breast cancer in young women

Q&A: Breast cancer in young women

Young women found the news surprising and more than a little scary: Cases of advanced breast cancer have been rising in women 25 to 39 over the past three decades, researchers reported in February 2013.

From 1976 to 2009, the number of cases of advanced breastcancer in younger women at the time of diagnosis increased, the researchers found, from 250 a year to 850 a year. 

Although those numbers sound scary, you have to take into account that the population of young women grew in that time period. When you look at the percentage of new cases, the increase is small and shows they nearly doubled: from 1.5 of every 100,000 younger women in 1976 to about 3 per 100,000 in 2009.

WebMD turned to two experts familiar with the study to offer perspective on the findings and suggestions on what younger women should do to protect their breast health. Len Lichtenfeld, MD, is deputy chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society. Laura Kruper, MD, is director of the Cooper Finkel Women's Health Center and co-director of the Breast Cancer Program at City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in Duarte, Calif. 

Q: Can you put this new finding in perspective for younger women?

"Younger women should not become overly alarmed at the headline about the increased risk of advanced breast cancer in young women," Lichtenfeld says.

That's not to dismiss the seriousness of such a cancer diagnosis, he says. "It's a serious problem and it's especially difficult for young women and their families to go through."

However, he says, breast cancer in women age 40 and younger is not common. About 7% of all breast cancers occur in women before age 40.

For most younger women who are considered at average risk for breast cancer, the new study should serve primarily as a reminder to become more aware of their breast health, Lichtenfeld says.

A woman is considered at average risk if she does not have a strong family history of breast cancer or have genetic mutations (such as BRCA1 and BRCA2) that raise risk, he says.

While the research was well done, the increase in breast cancer in young women needs to be studied further, says Kruper: "The big question is why?"

That's not known from the study. Experts speculate it could be related to lifestyle changes, such as delayed childbearing, among other possibilities.

The study researchers speculate that improvement in imaging methods or increasing use of imaging may have meant patients were put in a higher ''stage'' group at diagnosis, resulting in more women being classified as having advanced cancer. While they found no direct evidence of that in the study, they say it could still be possible.

"We need to find out if it is a true phenomenon," Kruper says. Next, researchers could focus on why the increase is happening.

Q: Do the study findings suggest younger women not at high risk of breast cancer should begin to get routine mammograms or other imaging tests?

Absolutely not, Lichtenfeld and Kruper agree.

Q: What about breast self-exams?

"The American Cancer Society does not recommend routine breast self-exams," Lichtenfeld says.

Years ago, many organizations promoted breast self-exams, he says, distributing brochures and water-proof reminder cards to hang in the shower. "Then research showed that organized breast self-exam programs really did not lead to a reduction in the severity of breast cancer," he says.

Now, the American Cancer Society says that breast self-exams are ''an option for women starting in their 20s."

In the study, the researchers did not have any information on how the breast cancer was found initially or whether the women did breast self-exams.

Breast exams by a health care professional are recommended every three years for women in their 20s and 30s, and annually for those 40 and older, the society says.

Women should develop breast awareness, Lichtenfeld says. "They should know how their breasts normally feel, so when they shower or dress and feel something different than what they felt before, they should know they need to get that attended to," he says.

More often than not, he says, the changes are normal and noncancerous, but that should not be assumed by a woman or her doctor. 

Q: Are symptoms of breast cancer in younger women the same as in older?

Yes, Lichtenfeld says. These may include a mass in the breast, unexplained pain, a change in the texture of the skin, redness, or inflammation.

Any changes in the nipple should be looked at, too, says Kruper, as well as an enlargement in one breast only. 

Q: What should a woman do if she notices any of these symptoms?

"Go see your doctor and expect the symptoms to be taken seriously," Kruper says.

Q: What can women under 40 do to lessen breast cancer risk?

"Maintain a healthy body weight and exercise regularly," Lichtenfeld says. "Follow a healthy diet, preferably more plant-based than meat-based."

He gives the advice to keep a healthy body weight, he says, despite a lack of evidence of a link between obesity in childhood or young adulthood and breast cancer. "On the other hand, in postmenopausal women, obesity is a risk factor increasing the risk of breast cancer," he says.

Exercise should be consistent, Kruper says. She tells her patients to get in 40 minutes, four to five times a week. It should be a good cardiovascular workout, she says -- ''not just Pilates or yoga."

Be aware of how much alcohol you drink, Lichtenfeld and Kruper agree. Alcohol raises breast cancer risk, experts agree, but much is not known about the link. Even small amounts of alcohol have been linked with a higher risk, Lichtenfeld says. The American Cancer Society recommends no more than one drink a day, he says.

"According to the research, the less you drink the better," Lichtenfeld says.

SOURCES: Len Lichtenfeld, MD, deputy chief medical officer, American Cancer Society.Laura Kruper, MD, director, Cooper Finkel Women's Health Center and co-director, Breast Cancer Program, City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Duarte, Calif.Johnson, R. Journal of the American Medical Association, published online Feb. 27, 2013.American Cancer Society: "American Cancer Society Guidelines for the Early Detection of Cancer."

© 2013 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

The Latest News Headlines

  • The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said a boy died Friday night after becoming tangled in chains on a swing at a park in Northwest Jacksonville. #JSO is working a death investigation of a child in the 8700 Sibbald Rd. Media will be addressed at 9pm at Sibbald Rd and Archery Ave.— Jax Sheriff's Office (@JSOPIO) November 18, 2017 Officers responded at 6:15 p.m. to Charles 'Boobie' Clark Park on Sibbald Road, where they found an unresponsive 10-year-old boy. A mother of four children walked with her kids to play at the park. The 10-year-old boy was standing on the swing, police said. When the mother looked back at the boy, she saw the chains of the swing wrapped around the child's neck. 10 year old child at the park was on a swing when he got entangled in the chains and they wrapped around his neck. Child died at the hospital. At this time, the death is being investigated as a tragic accident and foul play is not suspected. https://t.co/lCOrhRPBGd — Jax Sheriff's Office (@JSOPIO) November 18, 2017 The boy was brought to UF Health Jacksonville, where he died from his injuries. The child's mother and other children are being questioned, but police said no foul play is suspected and the incident is being called a tragic accident by JSO. Refresh this page, follow @ActionNewsJax on Twitter and watch FOX30 Action News Jax at 10 for updates. HAPPENING NOW: #JSO investigating a death reported off 8700 Sibbald Rd. @ActionNewsJax crew is headed to scene. pic.twitter.com/2V2qCkexVU — Tenikka Smith Hughes (@TenikkaANjax) November 18, 2017 #BREAKING: JSO is working a death investigation of a child on Sibbald Rd. I'm headed to the scene @ActionNewsJax — Danielle Avitable (@DanielleANjax) November 18, 2017 JSO says 10 year old got tangled in chains on swing & died. No foul play is suspected. Police call it a 'tragic accident' pic.twitter.com/EwQi7tNOQ9 — Danielle Avitable (@DanielleANjax) November 18, 2017 Police say mother was at park with 4 kids and she looked away for a second when she turned around her child was unconscious on the swing. Taken to UF health where child pronounced dead @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/I5AMOBAdlz — Danielle Avitable (@DanielleANjax) November 18, 2017 Police say mother was at park with 4 kids and she looked away for a second when she turned around her child was unconscious on the swing. Taken to UF health where child pronounced dead @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/I5AMOBAdlz — Danielle Avitable (@DanielleANjax) November 18, 2017
  • Update (Friday, November 17) President Donald Trump said in a tweet Friday he’s delaying a new policy allowing the body parts of African elephants shot for sport to be imported until he can review “all conservation facts.” The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Thursday that it will allow the importation of body parts from African elephants shot for sport. The agency said encouraging wealthy big-game hunters to kill the threatened species would help raise money for conservation programs. Animal rights advocates and environmental groups criticized the decision. On Friday, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee urged the administration to reverse the policy, calling it the “wrong move at the wrong time.” Trump said that the policy had been “under study for years.” He says he will review the issue with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Earlier The Trump administration plans to lift a ban on Friday that barred big game hunters from bringing trophies from elephants killed in a pair of African nations to America, according to multiple reports. >> Read more trending news A spokesperson for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service told ABC News in a statement Wednesday that the decision was made after officials in Zimbabwe and Zambia provided them with information to support a reversal of the ban. 'Legal, well-regulated sport hunting as part of a sound management program can benefit the conservation of certain species by providing incentives to local communities to conserve the species and by putting much-needed revenue back into conservation,' the spokesperson told ABC News. The decision will overturn a 2014 ban implemented by President Barack Obama’s administration in response to falling elephant populations.  African elephants are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. A provision in the act, however, allows for the government to give permits that let people import trophies from such animals if evidence shows that hunting them helps conservation efforts, according to NBC News. The rule reversal will apply to elephants hunted in Zimbabwe from Jan. 21, 2016, to Dec. 31, 2018, the news station reported. It will also apply to elephants killed in Zambia in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and “applications that meet all other applicable permitting requirements,” a Fish and Wildlife spokesperson told NBC News. According to the 2016 Great Elephant Census, Savanna elephant populations fell by 30 percent between 2007 and 2014. About 352,000 elephants were spotted during the survey, 82,300 in Zimbabwe and 21,700 in Zambia. Both countries had areas that saw substantial declines in elephant populations along the Zambezi river in Zambia and in Zimbabwe’s Sebungwe region, according to the census. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • The 45th American Music Awards ceremony is set for Sunday in Los Angeles, and if the past is any indication, you can expect a night with a few surprising moments.  Remember Garth Brooks declining the award, or the time Pat Boone dressed in leather? Yeah, it’s likely to be that kind of night. The show will be broadcast live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Here’s what you need to know about the show. What time: The show begins at 8 p.m. ET What channel: The AMAs will be broadcast live on ABC. Who is hosting: Tracee Ellis Ross, star of “black-ish,” is hosting. What about a pre-show: What would a music awards show be without a pre-show? AJ Gibson, Marc Malkin, Laura Marano and Oliver Trevena will host the official pre-show, “AMAs Red Carpet Live presented by Security Benefit.” The two-hour pre-show will stream live from the Microsoft Theater beginning at 6 p.m. ET. You can watch the show on Twitter. Find it here. live.twitter.com/amas or via @AMAs. You can also watch “E! Live from the Red Carpet” from 6-8 p.m. ET. on the E! Network. Who has the most nominations: Bruno Mars has the most nominations this year – eight. Who is nominated for Artist of the Year: The Chainsmokers, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran are up for the award. Who is up for Video of the Year: Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee ('Despacito'), Bruno Mars ('That's What I Like') and Ed Sheeran ('Shape of You') are the nominees. For a complete list of nominees, click here. Who is performing: Here is a list of those scheduled to perform: Alessia Cara Alesso BTS Christina Aguilera  Kelly Clarkson  Florida Georgia Line Niall Horan Selena Gomez Imagine Dragons Lady Gaga Nick Jonas Khalid Demi Lovato  Shawn Mendes P!nk Portugal. The Man Diana Ross Hailee Steinfeld watt Zedd Anything special: Diana Ross, mother of host Tracee Ellis Ross, is both performing and receiving a lifetime achievement award.
  • A New Jersey man was stabbed to death in his home Tuesday night when he tried to defend his 8-year-old son from a group of teens trying to steal the boy’s sneakers, according to family. Jose “Migue” Malave, 30, of Jersey City, was stabbed around 7 p.m. at his home, according to the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office. He was pronounced dead about 25 minutes later at the scene.  A 17-year-old boy was arrested at the scene and charged as a juvenile, prosecutors said. The unidentified teen is charged with murder, felony murder, armed burglary, conspiracy and multiple weapons charges.  A second suspect, Nasiar Day, 19, of Newark, was taken into custody Thursday, NJ.com reported. Day is also charged with murder, felony murder, armed burglary, weapons charges and conspiracy.  NJ.com reported that Malave died in front of his girlfriend and four of his 11 children. Malave had just returned home to drop off his son before heading to his construction job.  Responding police officers found him lying in a “lifeless state” in the doorway of the family’s apartment, prosecutors said.  Malave’s 8-year-old son had reportedly been targeted earlier in the day by a group of teens who tried to steal his sneakers. The teens later went to the boy’s home because they assumed he had other nice belongings, Jose Malave’s sister, Yesenia Malave, told NJ.com. >> Read more trending news Yesenia Malave described her brother as a man who always tried to brighten people’s days. “He was always outgoing, always happy, always trying to help people,” she said. “You could be down and he was the one who could bring your life up.” In a Facebook post on Thursday, the grieving sister said she could not adequately express her grief.  “I wish I would have one more day with my little brother to tell him I love him,” Yesenia Malave wrote. “I miss his 3 a.m. call; (who’s) going to call me now?” Friends and family members have established crowdfunding pages to help the Malave family with funeral arrangements and to help financially support Jose Malave’s children. Petitions have also been established to urge prosecutors to charge both suspects as adults in the slaying.
  • A food server at a Pittsburgh hospital is accused of exposing himself in front of a patient.  Police said Michael Booker, 37, a dietary server at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Mercy, approached the female patient at the walking bridge that joins the parking garage and the hospital.  >> Read more trending news WPXI reported that the woman told investigators Booker approached her, said something vulgar and started fondling himself.  Booker is facing charges that include open lewdness. Officials said he has since been terminated from his position as a server.  Booker faces a preliminary hearing next month.

The Latest News Videos