All women are at risk of developing breast cancer and the risk greatly increases with age with most cases of breast cancer occurring in women over the age of 50. However, young women diagnosed with breast cancer can often face unique challenges and are more likely to be diagnosed with a more aggressive type of cancer.
The definition of ‘young women’ in the breast cancer sense, refers to women who are pre-menopausal or 40 years and younger. Approximately 7% of breast cancers diagnosed in Australia are women in this age group, which equates to approximately 1,000 women each year – 79 of these women are estimated to die from the disease.
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. But for those aged 20-39 years in Australia, it is also the most common cause of cancer death.
Some of the challenges facing young women diagnosed with breast cancer may include premature menopause, fertility and sexuality issues, and the impact of breast cancer on caring for young children, education and careers. As a result, young women may experience higher levels of medical and psychosocial distress following a diagnosis.
In Breast Cancer Trials’ upcoming Q&A event – which will be moderated by Author and Journalist Annabel Crabb – leading researchers and breast cancer experts will discuss breast cancer in young women.
The expert panel includes Professor Ann Patridge, Professor of Medicine at Harvard & Vice Chair of Medical Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Associate Professor Lesley Stafford who is a clinical psychologist, Associate Professor Nicholas Wilcken, Director of Medical Oncology at Westmead Hospital and Ms Laura McCambridge and Ms Leslie Gilham, both breast cancer survivors.
Discussion will include research and clinical trials to improve treatments and prevention strategies, the psychological impact of breast cancer, treating breast cancer with a multidisciplinary team and support for young women.
Breast Cancer Trials are hosting a Q&A about breast cancer and young women at Federation Square on Wednesday 27th July from 5:30-7pm. The Q&A will also be broadcast live so that all interested parties can tune in.