Myth: Breast cancer is super common – even in teens.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in Canadian and American women. However, research shows it’s extremely unlikely for teens and young adults to get breast cancer. There’s actually only a <0.06% chance that a person under age 20 will get it.

While it’s important that we are aware of breast cancer risk and the ways we can reduce it, it’s also important that we keep misinterpretations about teen risk from spreading into frightening rumours.

So, where did this myth come from? The media has long emphasized women’s risk of breast cancer, stating that it’s 1/9 in Canada and 1/8 in the United States. This has led a lot of young women to overestimate their risk. Many of them think that, on any given day, they have a 1 in 9 chance of developing breast cancer. This is not true. The chances of a woman getting breast cancer in her entire life time are 1/9 (Canada) or 1/8 (U.S.). In Canada, a woman’s average lifetime is about 90 years. So, it’s more accurate to say that 1 in 9 women in Canada who reach the age of 90 can expect to develop breast cancer.

Research shows that your risk for breast cancer becomes less and less likely the younger you are. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, it was estimated that, in 2016, 86% of breast cancer diagnoses in Canada would occur in women over 50 years of age (51% in women 50 to 69 years of age and 32% in women over the age of 69). The American Cancer Society estimated that, in 2015, 77% of diagnoses in the U.S. would occur in women over 50 (54% in women 50 to 60 years of age and 22% in women over the age of 69). But, only 5% (Canada) and 5.7% (U.S.) of breast cancer diagnosis occur in women under 40!

Want to know more about risk factors? Click HERE!

Click here to get more breast cancer facts.

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