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Study: Breast Cancer On The Rise In Young Women
Alarming news for young women: a new study shows breast cancer rates are on the rise for women ages 25 to 39.
The study was published in The Journal of the American Medical Association and its findings are confirmed by doctors who are seeing the increased rates of cancer in young women here in Central Texas, too.
"Getting diagnosed at 28 was a complete shock," remembers Runi Limary.
At just 28, cancer was the last thing on Runi Limary's mind. She had no family history of the disease and led a fairly healthy lifestyle, so when she found a lump even her doctors assumed it was nothing.
"Because I was young and fairly healthy my doctor said, most likely you're going to be fine, but let's go ahead and schedule you for a mammogram," said Limary.
But when the results came back reality sunk in: not yet 30 and Limary had breast cancer.
"My world was completely flipped upside down," she said. "And it was really trying to force myself to take it one day at a time."
That diagnosis was seven years ago. Today, Limary works at the Breast Center at St. David's where there are cases like hers nearly every day.
"It is not uncommon for women in their 20s to come here," said Brenda Baumann, the director of the Outpatient Women's Health at the Breast Center at St. David's Medical Center.
While the disease is still most common in women older than 40, a new study shows cases are increasing in the younger age group.
The reasons for this trend aren't exactly known, but doctors point to contributing factors like: postponing childbearing, breast feeding less, weight and exercise and alcohol consumption.
"Only 5-10 percent of breast cancer is genetic, so 90 percent is not genetic," said Baumann of the risk factors for developing cancer.
Mammograms are not usually recommended until age 40, so it's often up to the patient herself to notice changes in her breasts and get it checked by a doctor.
"You're not responsible for diagnosing yourself, but just knowing when you see a change or feel a change and reporting it to your doctor," stressed Baumann.
"Most people in their 20s, 30s, 40s are not supposed to be diagnosed with breast cancer," said Limary.
But since the diagnosis is happening more and more often, survivors like Limary are now encouraging their young friends to take the disease seriously and get checked.
There are now many support groups for young women to help cope with the psychological effects of getting such a serious diagnosis at a young age. You can get more information at:
By Karen Kiley