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I’m too young to get breast cancer aren’t I?

Bald woman - cancer survivor
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With high profile young women such as singer Kylie Minogue and actress Belinda Emmett being diagnosed with breast cancer, you may have the perception that breast cancer is on the increase in younger women.

In fact, breast cancer is still a rare occurrence in young women. Around five per cent of all breast cancer cases are found in women under the age of 40.

This means little, however, if you are a young woman with breast cancer.

Being aware of and preventing breast cancer is still important for young women.

Become familiar with the look and feel of your breasts and report any unusual changes to your doctor.

Breast cancer can be harder to detect in young women as their breast tissue is often thicker than breast tissue in older women. Because a young woman’s breasts are so dense, a mammogram isn’t always useful for detecting early breast cancer.

Because detection can be difficult, the cancer is often advanced when it is discovered. Young women may also ignore the warning signs and symptoms because they think they are too young to get breast cancer.

Quite often, the cancer is discovered when the young women or their partner find a lump in the breast. This is why it is important for women to regularly check their breasts. Know what is normal for you and report any changes to your doctor.

That said, not all lumps are cancer! Finding lumps in the breast is not uncommon for young women. In most cases, these lumps turn out to be cysts (small fluid filled lump). Even so it is important to get any unusual lumps or other changes checked out – your doctor won’t think you are over-reacting!

To reduce your risk of breast cancer, maintain a healthy body weight, eat well, exercise regularly and limit alcohol consumption.

(Source: Cancer Council Western Australia)

Pink Ribbon Day fast facts

  • Monday, 24th October, 2011 is Pink Ribbon Day
  • Website URL:
  • Info line: 1300 65 65 85
  • The pink ribbon is the international symbol of support for women with breast cancer 

More information

Breast cancer
For more information on breast cancer, types of breast cancer and its investigations and treatments, as well as some useful videos, see
Breast Cancer.

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Posted On: 21 October, 2011
Modified On: 28 August, 2014

Created by: myVMC