- Researchers report an increased incidence of breast cancer in people under the age of 40.
- They say they don’t know why the rate went up, but they hope their findings raise awareness and research efforts.
- They encourage young people to learn about family history and what behaviors can increase risk.
In the fall of 2014, Christina Best began her long-awaited job as an English teacher at a rural high school in northeastern North Carolina, where she attended just four years ago.
“I loved the students. I had a brother who went to school with me in the classroom,” Best, who was 24 at the time, told Healthline.
Her enthusiasm for teaching was great, but the joy of work was hampered by the stubborn and sometimes severe pain in her chest.
In the spring of 2016, a biopsy confirmed that the pain was caused by a cancerous tumor. Her doctor eventually diagnosed it as stage 2A breast cancer.
“I was surprised,” said Best. “It was a complete surprise. I didn’t know that a woman of that age had breast cancer. My grandmother had it. I always thought it happened to an older woman. I did. ”
Best took a long vacation from her job to get medical treatment.
She has tolerated chemotherapy, surgery, hormone therapy, radiation and other treatments.
It was traumatic, but Best has overcome it without compromising her positive attitude.
She is currently in remission, but her life and career trajectory has changed since her diagnosis.
She returned to the classroom for a while, but now works for an education company, helping the university bring courses online.
I recently moved to Los Angeles and pursued other interests such as photography, acting and singing.
And she does whatever she can to explain her risk of breast cancer.
“I’m passionate about inclusiveness and consider all gender / non-binary people, and prevention / early detection,” she said.
Best Volunteer for Teen Cancer America, A non-profit organization founded by rock band The Who’s Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, to support cancer in teens and young adults.
According to Best, young adults with breast cancer often look out, and pediatric and older adult patients receive the most attention in terms of resources and research.
“It’s not that scientists don’t care, but the focus was polarized between these two groups, which was difficult for the middle-aged people,” she said.
“I don’t know why I got it, but there are many people with breast cancer from North Carolina,” Best added. “And the number of young women being diagnosed across the country is increasing.”
A New research What was published in the journal Radiology supports Best’s claim.
In fact, this study shows that breast cancer mortality is increasing in people under the age of 40. This reverses the downward trend in breast cancer mortality over the last decade.
According to statistics, researchers explain that the overall mortality rate for breast cancer in the United States has been steadily declining since 1989.
Between 1989 and 2017, breast cancer mortality for all people in the United States decreased by 40%. This is due to improved treatment and increased mammography screening rates in the 1980s.
In a new study, researchers determined US trends in women’s breast cancer mortality by a 10-year-old subgroup, based on recent data from the National Center for Health Statistics.
The incidence of underlying breast cancer is increasing in people under the age of 40.The study also reported that the incidence of distant breast cancer has increased by more than 4 percent annually since 2000 in people aged 20 to 39 years.
Breast cancer mortality continued to decline between ages 40 and 79, but increased below age 40.
The annual growth rate from 20 to 29 years was about 3%.
Researchers performed a retrospective analysis of breast cancer mortality using data from NCHS and the National Cancer Institute’s monitoring, epidemiology and end-results programs.
Researchers did not include data on how breast cancer affects other genders.
Breast cancer is still less common in young people, but the incidence is increasing, studies report.
The authors of the study expressed their hope that the findings would raise awareness of breast cancer among young people and lead to more studies of the causes behind the changes.
“It is clear that the mortality rate of women under the age of 40 is no longer declining.” R. Edward Hendrick, PhD, lead author of the study and clinical professor of radiology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, said: Press statement..
“We predict that the mortality rate for these women will increase significantly within a few years,” he added.
“Our hope is to focus more attention and research on what these findings are behind breast cancer in young women and this rapid increase in late-stage cancer,” Hendrick said. ..
Breast cancer Is the most common non-skin cancer and the second most common cause of cancer death in women in the United States, accounting for 30% of all cancers.
Most invasive breast cancers occur in women over the age of 40, 5 percent Most cases occur in women under the age of 40.
Dr. Anne WallaceThe director of the Comprehensive Breast Health Center and a professor of surgery at the University of California, San Diego Health told Healthline that even people in their twenties must be diligent.
“Pay attention to your body. If you find something new in your breasts and it doesn’t go away in a few weeks, talk to your doctor to make sure the answer is right for you. “Wallace said. “If you feel sick about it, go ahead and ask your doctor to order an ultrasound.”
She added that there was no good reason to delay medical appointments.
“Don’t wait until school is over. This is common,” says Wallace. “If you’re studying for a bar exam, don’t wait until you take the exam.”
She encouraged people to learn about family history. “We had young patients and they knew their father had cancer, but no one had tested the genes. You need to know the history of both parents. Pediatricians and primary care physicians need to save all of this to a file, “says Wallace.
Dr. Patricia A. GantzThe head of cancer prevention and management research at the Johnson Center for Cancer Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles said there could be multiple reasons for increased breast cancer mortality in people in their twenties.
“It’s complicated,” Gantz told Healthline. “For example, we know that delayed childbirth is a risk factor for breast cancer.”
Gantz added that there are also data showing that alcohol and tobacco are risk factors for breast cancer.
“Although tobacco usage has declined, women are still smoking. Some of them do it to stay lean,” she said. “That is also a risk factor.”
Emily Sowski, a 27-year-old medical representative living in Santa Monica, California, underwent a prophylactic mastectomy at the age of 18 shortly after a positive test. BRCA2 gene..
This meant that she had a mutation in one of the breast cancer genes and was at high risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer.
Sowski agreed to have her breast removed and had a second surgery for reconstruction.
“I was a teenager. To be honest, I was very young and naive. I didn’t fully understand what it means to cut my body and remove my innate traits and why I make me a woman. I did, “she told Healthline. “If I did that now, those factors would play a bigger role.”
Her mantra is now simple.
“Know the history of your family. It may save your life,” she said. “If I didn’t know about this gene, I would have had about 80 percent chance of getting cancer.”
“Now I have a double mastectomy, so the chances are very small,” she said.
Meanwhile, Best embraces her life, shares her story, and raises awareness among young adult peers with breast cancer.
She is currently on Teen Cancer AmericaReproduceIt’s a music program and a prolific singer-songwriter.
“Breast cancer can be physically and mentally devastating,” she said. “I think losing breasts has sacrificed femininity, but people are getting more information.”
Upon further research, Best states: “Maybe someone like me wouldn’t have to get rid of her breasts. I wish I had that option. It’s such a game changer and will make such a big difference to your body. ”
Simon Davies, The Executive Director of Teen Cancer America told Healthline: “Christina is an extraordinary young woman. She was brave enough to share her story, educate medical professionals, and advocate Teen Cancer America in many ways to give young people cancer.”
“She embodies the spirit of Teen Cancer America and we are grateful to her,” said Davies.
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