Learn the basics about breast and ovarian cancer and why it is so important that you, as a young woman, start to be proactive with your health today. These are not our mother's diseases.
Be proactive! Learn the symptoms of breast and ovarian cancer, and see your doctor if you notice any changes that last for more than two weeks.
As a young woman, you might think of cancer as an older woman’s worry. When you’re young, you feel energetic and resilient—and it’s true: our moms and aunts do face a higher risk. But, we all need to know about cancer, especially breast and ovarian cancer. While rare, these cancers can and do affect young women. Inform yourself, take control of your health, and take steps to keep yourself healthy.
When some of the cells in your body grow and divide without stopping, they can cause cancer. This happens when the genes that control cells get damaged. We call this damage to a gene a “mutation.” When mutations occur in certain genes, cells don’t die when they should, and new cells form when we don’t need them. The cells may then grow out of control, causing cancer.
Breast Cancer is one of the leading cancer diagnoses in women and the leading cause of cancer death in women ages 15 to 54. One in eight women faces a lifetime risk of breast cancer. This cancer often runs in families.
Ovarian cancer, while far less common than breast cancer, still affects many women: one in 67 women faces a lifetime risk. The deadliest gynecological cancer in women, ovarian cancer is often called “the silent killer,” because its symptoms can be very difficult to detect. As a result, only about 19% are caught before the cancer spreads. Breast and ovarian cancer are often linked in families, with similar mutations associated with both cancers. That’s why it’s important to learn about both.
While breast and ovarian cancer is far less common in young women, we also face unique challenges when diagnosed:
The good news is that you can take proactive steps to protect your health. When detected and treated early, the five-year survival rates are greater than 90% for both of these cancers. You have the power to reduce your risk and find cancer early.
The best way to reduce your risk for breast or ovarian cancer—or find it before it becomes life threatening—is to start paying attention right now. Take control of your long-term health starting today!
Take our Assess Your Risk Tool to learn more about your personal risk for breast and ovarian cancer.