Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Are there any warning signs for younger women that they might get breast cancer later in life?"
I'm only 19 but I'm already worried about breast cancer because its in the news all the time. Are there any early signs I should look for while I'm young or it does breast cancer happen all at once when you get older?
Worrying about cancer can be terrifying, especially when you don't know what your risks are or what you can do to minimize them. When it comes to minimizing your cancer risk--and having the disease detected early if you do get it later in life--the most important thing to remember is that regular physician follow-up and appropriate screening is the best way to protect your health. if you don't have a regular physician, now is the time to get one and make sure you have annual check-up visits to make sure you are up to date on all of your screening tests. In the specific case of breast cancer, the first thing to know is that it is very unusual in someone of your age. There are very young women that do get the disease, but this is almost always in families where there is a strong genetic risk. If no one in your extended family has been diagnosed young (in the 20's, 30's, or 40's), then the odds that you will develop the disease early in life are exceedingly low. Your doctor can review your family history to make more detailed recommendations, but for the average woman, breast cancer screening starts between age 40 and 50 with yearly mammograms. Many breast cancers are diagnosed this way before they cause any symptoms. As with any health issue, any concerns about changes in your health should be addressed by your primary care physician.
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