hi. im only 20 years old but breast cancer runs on my mums side of the family, my great grandmother and great great grandmother both died from breast cancer, my grandmother is in remission about 2 years but she had a very rapid form of breast cancer and althought it was not cancerous my mother just has a lump removed from her breast. when should i start getting tested? a girl from my work is 23 n has just been diagnosed with cancer, shes not family but it concerns me that shes so young. as far as i know all my grandmothers had them as they were older (50 plus) but my mum is just a few years off 40.
I would see if your area has a breast center that specializes in breast cancer. When you do get checked out, d/t the br. cancer history, they should give you a mammo, ultrasound and MRI. The MRI is now approved on most pt's insurance IF you have a family hx. The MRI is a good tool as it can catch cancer's not seen on mammo.
Another thing you might want to do is look into genentic testing to see if you have the BRCA genes. If you do your breast and sometimes ovarian cancer risk is much higher and also BRCA positive women tend to have more aggresive breast cancers.
I have a family hx as well. Mom, maternal grandma, and aunt and now me. I was tested for the brca and I was negative. My cancer was found early on mammogram. I was dxed at 48 and now 2 yrs out at 50.
You definetly need to start having testing early. Early detection really does save lives.
You certainly can get a mammogram. You are young and your breast will be very dense, however, that does not mean that it will not be a useful diagnostic tool. You should also get an ultasound and a Breast MRI. Breast MRI are better for patients who's breast are very dense, however, do not be concerned if the Breast MRI picks up anything that concerns the Radiologist. The disadvantage of Breast MRI's is that they do tend to have a greater risk of false/positive results. My feeling on the false/positive results is better safe than sorry. Ultrasound is good because if there is anything of concern found than the ultrasound can typically diagnose whether it is fluid or solid based (fluid base is good).
The most important thing to do is to make an appointment at a breast clinic and have them evaluate you and your family situation. Talk to your mother about your concerns and possibly make an appointment with the surgeon who is caring for her.
It is very good that you are being pro-active with your health care.
If the youngest in your family to get breast cancer was around fourty, then I don't think you should worry too much at age 20.
You can't do much about the genes you inherit but you can do something about the lifestyle you inherit. A cancer gene doesn't mean you have to get cancer because it has to be triggered and promoted by your lifestyle.
Recommended reading: "The China Study", by T. Colin Campbell, tells how animal protein is associated with cancer and other diseases. This book is very scientific and changed my life. I now eat a plant based died because cancer runs in my family too.
Another great book: "Anticancer" by David Servan-Schreiber. This book gives more information on how lifestyle can help prevent cancer.