10-Year-Old’s Breast Cancer Diagnosis Further Ignites Fears and Provokes More Questions
“Girls need answers now more than ever,” says Dr. Marisa Weiss, President and Founder of Breastcancer.org
PHILADELPHIA, May 19 – “Hannah Powell-Auslam’s breast cancer diagnosis at the age of 10 is truly shocking and our hearts go out to Hannah and her family,” says Dr. Weiss. “A breast cancer diagnosis at such a young age is exceedingly rare — which is why we’re hearing about Hannah’s story. But even more importantly, our girls are hearing about Hannah’s diagnosis, which can exacerbate their fears about breast cancer.”
Over the past few years, Dr. Weiss’ non-profit organization Breastcancer.org has surveyed over 5,000 girls about this specific issue. The survey results were startling:
- Two out of 3 girls have someone close to them with breast cancer.
- Nearly 30% of girls have already misperceived a normal change to be a sign of breast cancer.
- Over 20% think that tanning, infection, drug use, stress, and breast injury or bruising cause breast cancer — none of which are risk factors.
“The reality is that girls are surrounded by breast cancer messaging. As a result, girls already have a lot of questions — and fears — about this disease and their risk,” says Dr. Weiss. “A story like Hannah’s surfaces these fears and underscores the existing need girls have for reliable information that can directly address their concerns, answer their questions, and put the risk of breast cancer into perspective.
“Hannah’s experience can help raise awareness of this important health issue and prompt girls to learn about breast cancer in a constructive way: to distinguish healthy from unhealthy breast changes and to understand actionable, everyday steps that hopefully will reduce their lifetime risk of breast cancer.”