Don’t Worry – Know Your Body
Don’t be a worry wart.
Breast cancer is rare in young women. 1.7 million women were diagnosed with breast cancer worldwide in 2012. We know approximately 5% of breast cancer diagnosis occur in women under 40, therefore a global estimation would be just under 100,000 women under 40 are diagnosed each year. In Canada, only 5% of breast cancer diagnosis’ are women under 40, and 18% are under 50.
Rethink aims to educate and empower young women to understand the complex concept of risk, and to address the tendency for young people to overestimate their chances of developing breast cancer. The striking “1-in-9 women will develop breast cancer” statistic is often circulated (this stat is closer to 1-in-8 in the U.S.), but frequently misunderstood or misinterpreted. Many believe that it means that at any given time, individuals and the women they know have a 1 in 9 chance of developing breast cancer. Many young women look around at their peers at the gym, office, or book club and think “1 in 9 of us is going to get breast cancer any minute.” In reality, this stat represents the breast cancer risk over the course of an entire lifetime. In Canada, the average lifetime for a woman is 84 years. So, it’s more accurate to say that 1-in-9 women in Canada who reach the age of 84 can expect to develop breast cancer.
Most lumps are harmless—even ones that are large and painful—so don’t panic immediately if you find something that concerns you. But, still be sure to report anything unusual you do find to your doctor. Getting a second opinion can further put your mind at ease.
Do know your body.
If you aren’t already, get friendly with your breasts. REALLY friendly.
Be in tune with your body and get to know it well. Become familiar with your breasts and surrounding tissue to know what feels normal—the look, feel, texture, etc.—so that you’ll be able to identify if anything feels unusual.
What you need to know:
- Be breast aware!
- Be familiar with your body and your breasts; know what feels right so you will know if something is wrong
- Don’t panic about getting breast cancer – it’s rare in young women! Be proactive and understand your personal risk instead.
Get to know your body but don’t worry, don’t freak, don’t panic. DO be breast aware.