Breast cancer in younger women

Younger Women Need Mammograms Too

Age-related recommendations for annual mammogram screenings are usually made by government-backed researchers and advisors. These recommendations don’t restrict women from getting mammograms. Instead they recommend the age at which their research shows annual mammogram screenings should begin. In the U.K. the recommended age is 50. It’s a little better in the U.S. where the recommended age is 40.

These age recommendations have actually had an unintended consequence. They’ve led many younger women to believe that they’re “too young to get breast cancer.” But this simply isn’t true. More and more non-menopausal women in their thirties and forties are being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Many of these diagnoses are made after the onset of symptoms. Unfortunately, that’s usually when breast cancer is more difficult to treat. Had these women started screening for breast cancer sooner, some of their cancers may have been detected earlier.

Breast cancer doesn’t discriminate

Young women everywhere need to know that when it comes to breast cancer, age doesn’t matter. But because younger women aren’t routinely screened for breast cancer, many learn of their cancer after it has advanced to a later stage. As a result, too many young women are dying from the disease. Sadly, breast cancer is the leading cause of death among women between the ages of 35 and 54.

Even when they realize that they’re not too young to get breast cancer many women still forgo regular mammogram screenings primarily because of the cost. A mammogram costs about £200 (or about $290) and for older women, the cost is typically covered by NHS or in the U.S. by health insurance. Usually the only time a younger woman’s mammogram is free is when her GP orders it after a lump has been found or when the procedure is covered by a corporate screening program.

mammogram, breast cancer awareness, breast cancerAnother complicating factor is that younger women’s breasts usually are denser. Dense tissue is a risk factor for developing breast cancer, and the tumors that develop in dense breast are often more aggressive. Lumps or abnormalities in dense breast tissue are better detected using newer digital mammography, but digital mammography costs even more than traditional film mammography.

All of this should be reason enough to convince policymakers to lower the age recommendations so that younger women have the same access to this potentially life- saving screening. But lowering the recommended age will cost money – lots of it – and that’s something most governments simply can’t afford.

Breast cancer a global problem

On a separate but related note, 2008 statistics compiled by the U.N. cancer research agency show that worldwide, breast cancer was the second most common form of cancer, with 1.38 million new cases diagnosed that year.

A diagnosis of breast cancer is upsetting at any age. Fortunately, earlier breast cancer detection usually translates into more treatment options, less surgery and better survival rates. And those may be the best reasons women have to continue fighting for access to low- or no-cost annual mammograms regardless of age.
source from : http://www.pharmacyescrow.com

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