This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Bring Your Brave campaign. All opinions are 100% mine.
I’m sure most of you know that breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States. But, did you know that 11% of all cases of breast cancer in the US are women under the age of 45? Many young women do not know they are even at risk.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a new campaign that launched this year called Bring Your Brave. It’s their first breast cancer campaign for young women. Bring Your Brave is all about inspiring young women to learn their risk for breast cancer, talk with their health care provider about their risk, and live a breast healthy lifestyle.
The campaign tells real stories about young women whose lives have been affected by breast cancer. These stories about prevention, exploring personal and family history, risk, and talking with health care providers bring to life the idea that young women can be personally affected by breast cancer.
My sister-in-law had breast cancer in her mid 30s. She never had any symptoms, and then suddenly woke up one night in excruciating pain. She didn’t know what was wrong, and the pain would not go away. My mother-in-law went with her to the emergency room, and they found out she had a very aggressive breast cancer. Within just a couple of weeks, she had a double mastectomy. They even removed some of her lymph nodes just to be sure.
It was very traumatic for her, and she didn’t had reconstructive surgery until an entire year later. Luckily, that was the end of it. She didn’t need any radiation or chemotherapy. She has been cancer free now for nearly five years. Even though there was no history of breast cancer in her family, she later received genetic counseling and testing and found out she has a breast cancer gene mutation.
You can read more young women’s stories who’ve faced their breast cancer risk, like Carletta who was just 41 years old and training for a triathalon when she found she had breast cancer.
As women, we can all benefit from learning the risk factors for breast cancer in young women. Here are those risk factors:
- You have close relatives who were diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 45 or ovarian cancer at any age, especially if more than one relative was diagnosed or if a male relative had breast cancer.
- You have changes in certain breast cancer genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2), or have close relatives with these changes, but have not been tested yourself.
- You have Ashkenazi Jewish heritage.
- You received radiation therapy to the breast or chest during childhood or early adulthood.
- You have had breast cancer or certain other breast health problems, such as lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS), ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), atypical ductal hyperplasia, or atypical lobular hyperplasia.
- You have been told that you have dense breasts on a mammogram.
There are three important steps the CDC encourages women to take so they can understand their risk of breast cancer:
- Know how your breasts normally look and feel and talk to your doctor if you notice anything unusual.
- Talk to your relatives about your family history of breast or ovarian cancer. Use the CDC’s worksheet as a guide for your conversation. You can find it HERE.
- Talk to your doctor about your risk.