Diagnosis with no family history or risk factors?

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Question from Lindy: Recently I heard of a 24-year-old young woman being diagnosed with breast cancer. And this was someone with apparently no family history of the disease or any of the risk factors. How common is this?
Answers - Lynn Schuchter Breast cancer does occur in young women. It is still much more common in older women and women over 50, but roughly 10% of breast cancer is in very young women. When we see someone at this age, 24 years, even if there is no family history of breast cancer we are still suspicious that this could be a hereditary form of breast cancer and we're concerned there may be a mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2. So it is uncommon to see breast cancer in someone this young. We treat breast cancer the same way in younger women as we do in older women but we would be very interested in this woman's family history of cancer, and whether she is an Ashkenazi Jewish woman.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Young Women and Breast Cancer feautred Lynn Schuchter, M.D. and moderator Jennifer Armstrong, M.D. answering your questions about the special concerns of young women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in April 2006.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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