Breast cancer awareness - what young women should know

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Every day, 2 women under the age of 40 are diagnosed with breast cancer.

Finding breast cancer early provides the best chance of surviving the disease. The best way for young women to find breast cancer early is through breast awareness. 

Most breast cancers in younger women are diagnosed as a result of investigation of a lump or other breast symptom. These symptoms are most often found by the woman herself during normal routine activities such as showering and dressing, or by her partner.

Breast changes to look out for include:

•    a new lump, or lumpiness, especially if it’s only in one breast
•    a change in the shape or size of your breast
•    a change to the nipple, such as crusting, ulcer, redness or inversion
•    a nipple discharge that occurs without squeezing
•    a change in the skin over your breast such as redness or dimpling
•    or an unusual pain that doesn’t go away.

While mammographic screening is effective in older women, there is no evidence to support the use of mammographic screening in women under 40. This is largely due to the dense nature of breast tissue in younger women.  

Young women who are concerned about their family history and their risk for breast and ovarian cancer can speak to their doctor about an assessment.

Information about breast awareness for young women  
Information about breast cancer in young women
Information for women about family history of breast and ovarian cancer
Your risk and breast cancer: online risk calculator 
Breast cancer in young women - video