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Challenges, Statistics and Hope:
Young women and breast cancer

Despite misconceptions that many healthcare professionals still hold, young women can and do get breast cancer. Since 1998, YSC has strived to help young women find meaning, comfort and hope during one of the most challenging experiences of their lives.

Welcome to YSC—we made this site for you and the young women who need our collaborative efforts in order to find the support, hope and full lives they deserve.

The reality of breast cancer in young women:

  • One in 14 women with breast cancer is under age 40 when diagnosed. One in eight women diagnosed with breast cancer is younger than 45 when diagnosed.1
  • Breast cancer accounts for 26% of all cancer in females 15–39 years of age and 39% of all cancer in 35–39 year olds.1
  • Young women generally have more aggressive breast cancers with lower survival rates, particularly in African-Americans and Latinas.
  • Increasingly, evidence suggests that breast cancer before age 40 is biologically different from the majority of breast cancer that occurs in older women. Women younger than 25 may have a third type of biologically distinct breast cancer.
  • The much lower incidence of breast cancer in young women means they are often underrepresented in research studies.
  • There is no effective breast-cancer screening tool for women age 40 and under.

The challenges for young women diagnosed with breast cancer:

  • Early-Onset Menopause: Chemotherapy and hormonal treatments can sometimes cause premature menopause, which can adversely affect a young woman’s quality of life.
  • Fertility: Breast-cancer treatment can affect a woman’s plans to have children—an issue of special importance to young women who may still be planning families.
  • Financial Challenges: Breast cancer can dramatically affect a woman’s financial stability, especially young women still in the working world. Issues can include workplace difficulties, a lack of health insurance or being underinsured.
  • Body Image: Some women find it challenging to embrace their new body after breast-cancer-related surgery. Body image can be especially important to young women.
  • Relationships & Dating: Whether married or single, women may face intimacy issues after a breast-cancer diagnosis.

Together we make a difference…

1 U.S. SEER 1990-1999 and 2000-2006