What Are the Risk Factors for Breast Cancer?

Being a woman and getting older are the main risk factors for breast cancer.

Studies have shown that your risk for breast cancer is due to a combination of factors. The main factors that influence your risk include being a woman and getting older. Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older.

Some women will get breast cancer even without any other risk factors that they know of. Having a risk factor does not mean you will get the disease, and not all risk factors have the same effect. Most women have some risk factors, but most women do not get breast cancer. If you have breast cancer risk factors, talk with your doctor about ways you can lower your risk and about screening for breast cancer.

Risk Factors You Cannot Change

  • Getting older. The risk for breast cancer increases with age; most breast cancers are diagnosed after age 50.
  • Genetic mutations. Inherited changes (mutations) to certain genes, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2. Women who have inherited these genetic changes are at higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
  • Reproductive history. Early menstrual periods before age 12 and starting menopause after age 55 expose women to hormones longer, raising their risk of getting breast cancer.
  • Having dense breasts. Dense breasts have more connective tissue than fatty tissue, which can sometimes make it hard to see tumors on a mammogram. Women with dense breasts are more likely to get breast cancer.
  • Personal history of breast cancer or certain non-cancerous breast diseases. Women who have had breast cancer are more likely to get breast cancer a second time. Some non-cancerous breast diseases such as atypical hyperplasia or lobular carcinoma in situ are associated with a higher risk of getting breast cancer.
  • Family history of breast cancer. A woman’s risk for breast cancer is higher if she has a mother, sister, or daughter (first-degree relative) or multiple family members on either her mother’s or father’s side of the family who have had breast cancer. Having a first-degree male relative with breast cancer also raises a woman’s risk.
  • Previous treatment using radiation therapy. Women who had radiation therapy to the chest or breasts (like for treatment of Hodgkin’s lymphoma) before age 30 have a higher risk of getting breast cancer later in life.
  • Women who took the drug diethylstilbestrol (DES), which was given to some pregnant women in the United States between 1940 and 1971 to prevent miscarriage, have a higher risk. Women whose mothers took DES while pregnant with them are also at risk.

Risk Factors You Can Change

  • Not being physically active. Women who are not physically active have a higher risk of getting breast cancer.
  • Being overweight or obese after menopause. Older women who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of getting breast cancer than those at a normal weight.
  • Taking hormones. Some forms of hormone replacement therapy (those that include both estrogen and progesterone) taken during menopause can raise risk for breast cancer when taken for more than five years. Certain oral contraceptives (birth control pills) also have been found to raise breast cancer risk.
  • Reproductive history. Having the first pregnancy after age 30, not breastfeeding, and never having a full-term pregnancy can raise breast cancer risk.
  • Drinking alcohol. Studies show that a woman’s risk for breast cancer increases with the more alcohol she drinks.

Research suggests that other factors such as smoking, being exposed to chemicals that can cause cancer, and changes in other hormones due to night shift working also may increase breast cancer risk.

Who Is at High Risk for Breast Cancer?

If you have a strong family history of breast cancer or inherited changes in your BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, you may have a high risk of getting breast cancer. You may also have a high risk for ovarian cancer.

Talk to your doctor about ways to reduce your risk, such as medicines that block or decrease estrogen in your body, or surgery.external icon

Breast Cancer

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You may have heard about special events, like walks or races, to raise money for breast cancer research. Or maybe you’ve seen people wear those little pink ribbons on their clothes.

Breast (say: brest) cancer is a common cancer among women. It occurs rarely in men and it doesn’t affect kids. But kids might want to learn about it because they know someone who has it or because they want to learn how to check for it when they are older.

What Is Breast Cancer?

The human body is made of tiny building blocks called cells. Your body creates them, replacing those that die with new ones. Usually, the body creates healthy, normal cells that do just what they’re supposed to do. This includes cells in the breasts, the two rounded areas on the front of the chest.

But if a cell changes into an abnormal, sometimes harmful form, it can divide quickly over and over again without dying, making many, many copies of itself. When this happens, a tumor, abnormal body cells grouped together in the form of a mass or lump, can start to form and grow.

Breast cancer is a kind of tumor that develops in the cells of a person’s breast. You may think that only women can get breast cancer, but because all people have breast tissue, men can get breast cancer as well — but this is very rare.

Someone with breast cancer may have cancer cells in just one part of the breast, which might be felt as a lump. The cancer can spread throughout one or both breasts. Sometimes breast cancer spreads to other parts of the body, like the bones<, the liver, or elsewhere.

Why Do People Get Breast Cancer?

Any woman can get breast cancer, but these things can make some women more likely to get it:

  • Family history: A woman whose mother, sister, aunt, or daughter has had breast cancer is more likely to get it.
  • Age: As women get older, they are more at risk for breast cancer. Teens — as well as women in their twenties and thirties — are less likely to get breast cancer.
  • Diet and lifestyle choices: Women who smoke, eat high-fat diets, drink alcohol, and don’t get enough exercise may be more at risk for developing breast cancer.

What Are the Signs of Breast Cancer?

A woman who has breast cancer may have no problems, or she may find a painless lump in her breast. If women examine their breasts monthly, they can help find lumps or other changes that a doctor should examine.

Most breast lumps are not cancer, but all lumps should be checked out by a doctor to be sure. Breast lumps that are not cancer may be scar tissue or cysts (fluid-filled lumps or sacs) or they can be due to normal breast changes associated with hormone changes or aging.

Girls who are beginning puberty might notice a lump underneath the nipple when their breasts start developing. Usually, this is a normal. You can ask a parent or your doctor about it to be sure.

What Will the Doctor Do?

Sometimes a doctor will discover a lump in a woman’s breast during a routine examination or a patient might come to the doctor with questions about a lump she found.

In other cases, a mammogram (say: MAM-uh-gram) may find a lump in the breast that can’t be felt. A mammogram is a special kind of X-ray of the breast that helps doctors see what’s going on inside. Sometimes, other kinds of pictures, like an MRI, also can be taken.

When a lump is found, the doctor will want to test it. The best way to do this is usually with a biopsy. In a biopsy, a small amount of breast tissue is removed with a needle or during a small operation. Then, the tissue is examined under a microscope to look for cancer cells.

The biopsy may be benign (say: bih-NINE), which means the lump is not cancer. If the biopsy shows cancer cells, the lump is malignant (say: muh-LIG-nunt). If a breast lump does contains cancer cells, the woman, along with her doctor and family, will decide what to do next.

How Is Breast Cancer Treated?

Treatment for breast cancer usually depends on the type of cancer and whether the cancer has spread outside of the breast to other parts of the body.

Here are some common treatments:

  • lumpectomy (say: lum-PEK-tuh-mee), which removes the cancerous tumor from the breast. A woman usually has this surgery when the cancer is found early and when the lump is small and in only one part of the breast.
  • mastectomy (say: ma-STEK-tuh-mee), which removes the whole breast. This surgery is done when cancer cells have spread through the breast or into other parts of the body. It’s a good way to remove all or most of the cancer, and can help prevent the cancer from spreading or coming back. Sometimes, a woman who has a mastectomy may choose to have an operation to reconstruct (rebuild) the breast, so her shape will be more like it was before.
  • radiation therapy and chemotherapy, which are often used after lumpectomy or mastectomy to make sure that all the cancer cells are destroyed and do not grow back. Radiation (say: ray-dee-AY-shun) therapy uses high-energy X-rays to kill the cancerous cells. Chemotherapy (say: kee-mo-THER-uh-pee), or chemo, is special medicine that travels throughout the entire body and kills cancer cells.

Living With Breast Cancer

Dealing with breast cancer can be very hard for a woman and her family. A woman who has breast cancer surgery or treatment may not feel well for a while. She may be depressed if she had her breast removed. If a woman needs chemotherapy, she may lose her hair and she may feel sick to her stomach. She also may worry that the cancer will return and she’ll get sick again.

The good news is that many times, especially if a lump is caught early, women with breast cancer go on to live full, healthy lives after treatment. Some join support groups so they can talk to other women with breast cancer who are feeling the same emotions.

There are even groups that kids or other family members can join to talk about their feelings when someone they love has breast cancer. Find a trusted adult to talk with if you’re worried about a loved one.

Breast Cancer Prevention

Doctors and scientists are working to find cures for breast cancer. They are researching new medicines that may even help prevent the disease. But in the meantime, it’s important for women to catch the disease early.

Regular mammograms — together with monthly breast self-exams — are the best ways for women to protect themselves. You may want to ask the women you care about if they are taking these important steps to stay healthy.

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD Date reviewed: November 2017

Oct. 7, 2009 — — Taylor Thompson was planning to spend her summer vacation by the pool with friends. Instead, she spent a month becoming very familiar with her hospital in Little Rock, Ark.

It started with a casual mention to her mother that she felt a quarter-sized lump in her right breast. Doctors diagnosed her with breast cancer. She was 13 years old.

“I couldn’t tell her, I was just crying,” said her mother, Stephanie Anderson, when she learned of Taylor’s diagnosis. “I thought, ‘How am I going to explain this to my 13-year-old daughter about breast cancer?’ When I tried to talk to her, it just would not come out.”

The lump Thompson found in her breast was a type of fast-growing, potentially malignant tumor generally found in premenopausal women, not in girls Thompson’s age.

In fact, oncologists said finding cancerous breast cells in girls as young as Thompson is akin to being struck by lightning.

And while breast cancer is overwhelming at any age, women who get the disease in their twenties, their teens or younger face a host of unique issues that complicate an already devastating diagnosis.

“They face issues all breast cancer patients face — dealing with a potentially life-threatening illness, mortality, toxic treatments, breast surgery,” said Dr. Ann Partridge, director of the Young Women and Breast Cancer program at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Mass. “But a person who is young deals with those at an age when they have their own so these are accentuated.”

Breast Cancer in Young Patients Is Rare

Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among women ages 15-54, according to the National Cancer Institute, but breast cancer in young women — under age 40 — is very rare.

The chances of a woman getting breast cancer in her thirties is one in 250. In her twenties it is one in 2,000. The chances decrease the younger a woman is, Partridge said.

The prospect of surgery scared Thompson less than whether doctors would be able to remove all of the cancerous tissue during her lumpectomy.

“It’s rare that we see invasive breast cancer… in someone so young,” said Dr. Ronda Henry-Tillman, a breast oncologist who treated Thompson at the Rockefeller Cancer Institute at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. “This case makes us know that we can’t exclude it in younger patients.”

Practical Problems Abound for Young Breast Cancer Patients

In May, Elizabeth Bryndza, a 19-year-old sophomore at the College of New Jersey, underwent a bilateral mastectomy to remove both breasts. Two weeks before, she had found a lump of cancerous cells in her right breast.

“I never thought that I wouldn’t survive it,” said Bryndza, now 20. “I’m still going to be me, and I’ll fight as hard as I can.”

But there are practical problems that make younger women more vulnerable than older women to the challenges of a breast cancer diagnosis.

Young women are more likely to be treated aggressively for breast cancer than older women because, since they’ve rarely had regular screenings or mammograms, they are less likely to detect early-stage tumors. Young age is an independent risk factor for recurrent cancer, regardless of a family history of cancer, or a genetic predisposition to have BRCA gene mutations.

And since doctors see so few young women with breast cancer, there is a gap in research about fertility, early-onset menopause and other effects of diagnosis, treatment and outcomes in young women.

Young Women Feel More Invincible in the Face of Cancer

Chemotherapy may affect a young woman in many ways, including her ability to have children in the future. But for teenagers, concerns such as body image, sexuality, beauty and peers loom larger.

“At that time, as a teen, you think you’re invincible,” Bryndza said. “I sort of saw the whole thing as a big inconvenience.”

But as Bryndza began chemotherapy following her surgery, her cancer became more than an inconvenience. And while she had the unfailing support of family and friends, Bryndza could not forget how singular her situation was.

“Sometimes I felt so lonely,” Bryndza said. “My friends were there for me but they couldn’t fully understand what I was going through. Nor could a woman who is double my age who went through breast cancer.”

Younger women have two striking disadvantages when it comes to breast cancer diagnosis because of their age.

“If they haven’t generally been as tested in life, there is a theory that could be less resilient, if this is their first major challenge,” Partridge said. “And they do have more difficulty adjusting to the diagnosis at the time of diagnosis and during follow up.”

The Emotional Toll of Breast Cancer

Younger women are more likely to be affected to the point of depression if they feel overwhelmed by the disease. In addition, unlike older breast cancer patients, they generally lack a strong peer support system

“I think when you’re older you expect it more… it’s not something that’s atypical for your peer group,” said Bryndza’s doctor, Dr. Dawn Hershman, co-director of the breast cancer program at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbia University Medical Center. “When you’re young you feel like you’re the only one. Everybody wants to help but no one knows what it’s like.”

But younger women may not want empathy, craving normality instead. Often, the greatest source of anxiety for a young woman with breast cancer is not the disease — it’s whether their peers will treat them differently. Both Thompson and Bryndza said they felt the most anxious about heading back to school.

“Because she was so young, she did not know exactly what was, and that helped her deal with it,” Anderson said. “But she was worried about her peers — if they were going to talk about her as if she had a disease… She didn’t want a lot of young people to know. I guess because she didn’t understand herself what was going on, they might not understand either.”

Things Fall Apart

And the intensity of the cancer experience can be too much for some. Bryndza had a boyfriend when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and said he was supportive, but eventually, the stress took a toll on their relationship.

“It was hard because I was such a wreck, emotionally, sometimes,” Bryndza said. “I needed to focus on myself and my health and it was hard to be in a relationship when I had to worry about myself.”

Anderson said that the only time Thompson became overwhelmed with stress was because her surgery prevented her from participating in summer activities with her friends.

“I wanted to have fun,” Thompson said. “But now I feel good.”

Feeling Normal Again

Thompson did not need chemotherapy, but her tumor was such that she has a 98 percent chance of recurrence, including the possibility of cancer spreading to her lungs. Although she is recovering well at the moment, Anderson said her daughter is still a little paranoid.

“She’s always checking herself,” Anderson said.

Bryndza went back to school this fall, taking three classes to be a full-time student, although facing her peers in a wig and chest expanders in preparation for reconstructive surgery in a month was daunting.

“The anxiety was greater than doing it,” Bryndza said. “But I wanted to go back to school, take classes and feel normal.

And focusing on beating her breast cancer and getting through difficult chemotherapy overshadowed some of the more superficial aspects of the disease.

“I think everything happened so fast at the beginning that I never had time to think, ‘Oh my god, I’m going to have fake breasts!'” Bryndza said. “I just think that I beat cancer and now I get to have nice boobs. I look at it like that, or I won’t be able to deal emotionally.”

Breast cancer and teenage girls

1. Breast lumps in teenagers
2. Painful breasts
3. Breast cancer risk
4. Useful organisations

If you’re a teenage girl, you might be worried about your risk of getting breast cancer.

Developing breast cancer when you’re a teenager is extremely rare. It’s also uncommon in women in their 20s and 30s. The vast majority of breast cancers are diagnosed in women over the age of 50.

There can be a lot of unreliable information and ‘scare stories’ on the internet, so it’s important to use reputable websites or talk to your GP if you’re worried about any changes to your breasts. You can also call our Helpline free on 0808 800 6000 to speak with one of our experts.

1. Breast lumps in teenagers

It can be normal to feel lumps when your breasts are developing and these often disappear on their own.

If a lump causes you any discomfort, appears to get bigger or you’re worried about it, talk to someone such as your GP. You may also want to talk to someone in your family or a school nurse.

Although it’s very unlikely that there’s anything wrong, a doctor can check it out and should put your mind at rest. You can ask to see a female doctor or the practice nurse if this will make you feel more comfortable.

Very occasionally lumps are a sign of a benign breast condition. ‘Benign’ means harmless, and a benign condition will not become a breast cancer. The most common benign lump as the breasts are developing is known as a fibroadenoma.

2. Painful breasts

It’s normal for breasts to feel uncomfortable and painful at times. Breast pain can be anything from a mild ache to a sharp, stabbing, burning sensation.

Breasts can be painful when they are developing during puberty. For some people, breast pain is affected by changing hormone levels: the pain is at its worst just before a period, settling down again afterwards. For others the pain can happen at any time.

There are practical ways and treatments to help settle breast pain, so talk to your doctor if this is a problem for you.

Sometimes an ill-fitting bra can cause pain and discomfort, so it’s worth making sure your bra fits you properly.

3. Breast cancer risk

There are many myths about the causes of breast cancer. The following things don’t increase someone’s risk of getting breast cancer:

  • injuring your breast
  • using deodorants
  • wearing an underwired bra
  • having your nipple pierced
  • carrying a mobile phone in your breast pocket

The three things that increase the risk of breast cancer the most are things we have no control over. They are: being a woman, getting older, and having a significant family history of breast cancer.

Some things – like drinking too much alcohol and smoking – might slightly increase the risk.

4. Useful organisations

You may find the following organisations useful:

  • The Mix – free confidential help for people under 25
  • riprap – for teenagers who have a parent with cancer
  • ChildLine – website for children and young people

8-Year-Old Girl Diagnosed with Rare Breast Cancer Is Now Home for the Holidays, Recovering From Mastectomy: ‘I Was Really Scared’

The Turners had additional reason to worry: They each know what it is like to fight cancer. Annette was diagnosed with a rare form of cervical cancer and successfully treated in 2000, while Troy was told he had Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2008. Although now in remission, “he’s under close watch,” says Annette. “It was bad enough watching him go through it. But now, our daughter?”

Image zoom Melissa Papaj Photography Annette Turner

After her parents told Chrissy she had breast cancer and would need surgery, she burst into tears. “I was really scared,” Chrissy tells PEOPLE. “Daddy got really sick when he had cancer and lost all of his hair. And some people die from cancer.”

But the third-grader, who loves dragons and Legos, told her parents she would do whatever it took to be better.

Image zoom Chrissy Turner in Sept. 2015 Annette Turner

“It was terrifying – the hardest thing we’ve ever gone through as a family,” says Annette, who also has a 16-year-old daughter, Brianna. “There are days when I cry a lot. Because there’s always going to be this question: ‘Will she be okay? Or will the cancer come back?’ ”

Although surgeons are optimistic that Chrissy’s mastectomy on Dec. 7 was successful, “we’re now waiting to hear back about a biopsy on her lymph nodes,” says Annette. “This type of cancer is aggressive and doesn’t respond well to chemotherapy. So we’re hopeful that the biopsy is clear.”

The Turners, who filed for bankruptcy to pay for Troy’s medical bills now have a GoFundMe account for Chrissy that has brought in $80,000 so far.

“People have been phenomenal – people are coming from everywhere to help us,” says Annette. “It’s really been touching to see the support. We’re eternally grateful.”

Chrissy will have to be tested every three months for the rest of her life to make sure the cancer hasn’t returned, she says, “but she’s full of life and we’re full of hope. We’ll just keep coping, one day at a time.”

How Young Can You Get Breast Cancer?

Melissa Papaj Photography

When Chrissy Turner was 8 years old, she was putting on her pajamas and felt a hard lump under her right nipple that was painful to the touch. Though doctors thought a simple round of antibiotics would do the trick, Chrissy’s mother insisted that she have an ultrasound. The results were unbelievable-Chrissy had secretory breast carcinoma, a rare type of cancer afflicting one in 1 million people.

After her shocking diagnosis, Chrissy bravely underwent a mastectomy last December. Now, at 9 years old, she’s in remission (undergoing breast scans every three months) and joins 2.8 million other breast cancer survivors in the United States. (Arm yourself with knowledge: 9 Things Every Woman Should Know About Breast Cancer.) While other kids her age are thinking about playdates and homework after school, speaking out on cancer awareness is what’s on her mind. “It’s important to be aware of your body no matter what age you are,” Chrissy told People. “If you ever find a lump, don’t wait. You should go to a doctor have it looked at.”

To say how incredibly rare it is for someone so young to have breast cancer is an understatement. “While it’s important for us to all hear about it, we should remember that it is very unlikely to happen,” says Jaime Knopman, M.D., cofounder of Truly, MD and reproductive endocrinologist with CCRM NY. Although children do get cancers, breast and gynecological types of cancers are not common in kids, she explains, as these are usually associated with older women. “In fact, while there are several risk factors for breast cancer-such as family history, genetic mutations, reproductive history, diet, alcohol consumption, and exercise-age is the strongest risk factor,” she says.

While one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, the majority are postmenopausal women over the age of 70. In fact, less than 5 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer are under the age of 40. “Although the breast tissue is not fully developed until puberty is completed, a small amount of breast tissue is present in females at birth, and so theoretically breast cancer is possible at any age,” explains Joanna Perkins, M.D., a physician with the Cancer and Blood Disorders Program at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. “Men also have breast tissue and so, although it too is very rare, men are also at risk for breast cancer.”

Most organizations-such as the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists-recommend that women with no risk factors for breast cancer get their first mammogram when they turn 40. But even that recommendation has become controversial, with some screening organizations such as the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force altering that advice to say that the first mammogram should be done at age 50, with screenings every two years after that. “Screening tools-whether it’s a mammo, a pap, a colonoscopy-are designed to look at the people that would be most likely to get a disease,” says Knopman. “If you screen populations that are not likely to get a disease, you increase the rate of false-positive results, which can lead you down a path of testing and interventions that are not necessary. And while you may think what’s the big deal if you have a test that you didn’t need, sometimes complications arise-and they can create a lot of unnecessary fear and anxiety.”

Hearing a story like Chrissy’s, it can be difficult not to worry despite the minuscule odds. “In general, it is a good idea to educate both girls and boys at a very young age to be aware of their bodies, and to talk with their parents and doctors if they notice any concerning changes,” says Perkins. It’s better (and safer) to share too much than not enough with your doctor. “You want to make sure your ob-gyn knows everything about your past and the past of your family members in terms of their cancer history,” says Knopman. “This information can shape your screening paradigm; you may need to start with mammograms in your 30s or you may need MRIs in your 20s…it all depends on your risk factors.” (Did you know certain kinds of workouts can reduce your breast cancer risk?)

A GoFundMe page has been set up by Chrissy’s mother’s best friend to help pay for her medical expenses. You can also visit Chrissy’s Alliance on Facebook to learn more about her fight not only to beat her cancer but to raise awareness (and hope) for this rare disease, as well.

  • By By Lauren Brown West-Rosenthal

Breast cancer in young women

Fertility-related Choices: A Decision Aid for Younger Women with Early Breast Cancer is a free booklet for young women who have recently been diagnosed with early breast cancer. This booklet contains information about cancer treatment, how it can affect fertility, and fertility options to consider. There are also some worksheets to help you think about these issues. You can , or download it here.

Early menopause

Some chemotherapy and hormonal therapies can reduce the level of oestrogen produced in the ovaries, causing your periods to stop temporarily or can bring about permanent early menopause. This generally depends on your age and the medications you are given, but if you have not yet reached menopause, you should discuss this with your doctor before treatment. Early menopause can bring with it uncomfortable side effects, such as hot flushes or vaginal dryness. Talk to your doctor about ways to manage these side effects.

BCNA’s Menopause and breast cancer booklet explains why some treatments, including chemotherapy and hormone therapies, may cause menopause or mimic menopausal symptoms. The booklet includes plenty of tips for managing symptoms, and was developed in consultation with women with breast cancer and health professionals.
You can download or order a copy from our booklets and fact sheets page or by phoning BCNA on 1800 500 258.

Clinical trials for young women

To see what clinical trials are being run for young women diagnosed with breast cancer, visit the Australian Cancer Trials website.

More information

  • If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, you can sign up to our My Journey online tool, its a free resource for newly diagnosed women. The tool provides up-to-date, reliable information tailored to your changing needs and circumstances at all stages of your breast cancer journey.
  • Fertility-related Choices: A Decision Aid for Younger Women with Early Breast Cancer provides information on breast cancer and fertility. Download or order a copy from our booklets and fact sheets page, or call 1800 500 258 and we will post you a free copy.
  • BCNA’s Menopause and breast cancer booklet aims to help women manage the symptoms of menopause that result from breast cancer treatment. Download a copy from our booklets and fact sheets page, or call 1800 500 258 and we will post you a free copy.
  • Join BCNA’s online network to connect and share with other women in a similar situation.
  • The personal stories section includes stories written by young women with breast cancer.


  • Breast Cancer and early menopause: A guide for younger women is an information booklet produced by Cancer Australia, and is available to download.
  • Breast Cancer in Younger Women is a fact sheet produced by The Westmead Breast Cancer Institute, and .


  • Young Survival Coalition is an international organisation dedicated to the concerns and issues that are unique to young women with breast cancer and includes a bulletin board for support.
  • Sharsheret is a USA-based organisation of cancer survivors dedicated to addressing the unique challenges facing young Jewish women living with breast cancer.
  • The US-based Hope For Two website provides information and support to women diagnosed with breast cancer while pregnant.

Support groups

  • To find services and support in your area, visit BCNA’s local services directory.

Youngest age for breast cancer

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