- Question from Bweeden: Young women being diagnosed are still saying that their concerns are still being originally dismissed with "you are too young for breast cancer." What type of testing should every young woman demand she receive as the bare minimum when she presents a breast lump/change to a physician? Thank you.
- Answers - Lynn Schuchter I think she needs a good physical examination by the doctor. Then appropriate X-rays should be ordered and that could include a mammogram with possibly an ultrasound. It is true that breast cancer can occur in younger women, so it is appropriate to pursue things that they are concerned about in a breast exam. Having said that, it is very common to have benign (no cancer) in a bump or lump that a woman feels in her breast. But it is important to pursue the evaluation.
- Jennifer Armstrong, M.D. I really agree with Dr. Schuchter that any woman with a breast lump or change in her breast needs attention, regardless of her age. While benign results are more likely than anything else at any age, because of the potential risk of breast cancer at any age, evaluation is important. The younger a woman is, the more likely ultrasound is to be used with greater emphasis. This is because mammograms are particularly limited in younger women who tend to have denser and more cystic breast tissue. As Dr. Schuchter mentioned, oftentimes more than one test will be used in conjunction. Mammograms are not recommended as a screening tool in women without palpable abnormalities before the age of 40 or 50 (depending on different screening recommendations and different organizations).
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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