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You're Rather Young For That...How Old Were You?

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You're Rather Young For That...How Old Were You?

Hi all

I've decided to start this topic off as I've had so many people comment that I'm too young to have had breast cancer (having been diagnosed in my early 30s) or rather are surprised that I was diagnosed at such a young age as after all isn’t it a disease of older women?

The answer seems to be a resounding NO! I keep hearing about women being diagnosed at a younger and younger age - how can this be coincidence? How come I know so many young women who have been diagnosed?

A close relation was diagnosed at the age of 40 and then re-diagnosed just as I was finishing my treatment. A very close friend’s sister in law was diagnosed 4 months after me, another friend has just been diagnosed, another friend’s sister was diagnosed about 4 months ago and I also know of probably around 6 other women who’ve been diagnosed in their 20s and 30s before, during and after my treatment. Judging by the Breast Cancer Care website there are plenty of us.

I don’t know if anybody has done this before but I’d like to try and find out just how many of us were in our 20s, 30s and 40s when diagnosed and try and force the medical profession to take note of this so that young women are not dismissed by their GPs when they go along having found a lump or something that doesn’t feel right hence a late diagnosis. Also we need to increase awareness of breast cancer and the fact it can and does affect young women as well as older women.

For now, all I’d like to know is how old you were at diagnosis?

Thank you.

130 REPLIES 130
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My daughter was 29 when diagnosed with HER2 in 2007. Time was wasted because they didn't pick it up in London. She went to work in Germany and eventually went again to see a doctor and they immediately started tests.

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Hi, I was 39 when diagnosed in August. No family history.

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Hi, i was 40 when diagnosed a year ago, no family history.

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Age 35 dx jan secondary dx in april no family history 2 daughters

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Hi
Age 44 with no family history - lumpectomy but waiting for mastectomy now as margins not clear with DCIS plus 2 tumours 31mm & 12 mm Triple neg - . If mammograms done from age 40 would have no doubt been picked up earlier as is I have 3/22 nodes too!!!! - and 4 year old daughter to worry about

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Aged 33..secondaries 8 years later..
julie

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Hi I was 43 yrs, what I did find outstanding is I live in Spain and they could not believe that I hadn't had a previous routine Mammogram, they do them here from the age of 40 !!!

Looking at this thread I think they should do this in the UK too !! There's a lot of ladies in there early 40's DX and Younger...

Love Teresa xxx

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Showed up on my mammogram at 49 but dx from biopsy a week later when I was 50.

Sister had BC in her 30's, my mum died aged 45, various aunts / cousins also dx before 50.

Reeb

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Just noticed this thread, it's really interesting, I was thinking of starting one similar-don't need to now.
I am 36 no family history, was told I was low risk, don't worry it wont be bc you are too young!
12mm bc, lumpectomy, clear margins, no nodes affected, now waiting for referral to see onc.
I also breastfed my children, so much for that protecting women,
Love to you all
x

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I'm 41, dx two weeks ago and now waiting for mx. I have no family history whatsoever as I'm adopted - but my consultant has already agreed to do the genetic testing and hold onto my bloods (post treatment) as I have 3 daughters. The initial reaction was 'your daughters will be low risk as you are the only family member diagnosed with bc'.. yes, because I'm the ONLY family member they have on the maternal side! For all I know, every woman in my blood lines has had bc, and I want my daughters' risk evaluated accordingly. Looking positive that they understand that now, and I'll be referred for genetic testing once all the chemo etc is out of the way. My daughters would still not be screened until they are in their 30's, which I think is much too late - for ANY woman.

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I was 44 when I was diagnosed with both bc and bone mets.
My Mum died of ovarian cancer aged 70.

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I was 46 when diagnosed in March this year. Bi-lateral 31mm and 3 nodes in left side 21mm and no nodes in right side. Had WLE on both sides and node clearance on left.
Sue x

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im 43 was dignosed 6 weeks ago geting full mx fri with diep reconstruction x

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I was diagnosed in September. I'm 42 and no family history

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I was diagnosed in May and I am 28. I was 27 when i found the lump and was told by my GP to wait for my period in case it was related - it took me another 4 weeks to make an appointment at the doctors as the lump hadnt gone. I really feel that breast cancer awareness isnt really aimed at younger people - i was totally shocked when i found out and there are not many people in the country who are diagnosed in their 20's. To top it all my GP and the hospital were just as shocked as i was!!

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I was diagnosed last Monday age 43. Since that day I have spoken to family, friends and work colleagues and have been told stories of 8 women in my local area who have had bc.

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Hi all, I'm 47 and was dx on the 3rd Aug. I have to say that my Doctor was great and referred me straight away. I had surgery on the 19th WLE and 9 nodes removed. 25mm, Grade 3 and cancer in two nodes. Waiting now for results of CT and bone scans and to see the oncologist.
Looking at the various ages, and some so very young, it does make me wonder why mamagrams start at 50! Although I heard somewhere recently (can't remember where) that you can request one from age 47?

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I was 41 when diagnosed in 2003. Reoccurrence in 2006 was initially diagnosed as scar tissue by incompetent trainee doctor. Now multiple secondaries.

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Hi Ruby, Good evening all,

was 54 when dx, earlier scans where misread. Found lump myself.

Some health professionals have a lot to answer for.

To all of you out there - if in doubt insist on referral - go to next doc. and on and on. Till they check you properly.

Good to have you all here.

Helen

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I was 38 when diagnosed last February. My Friend was 40 when she was diagnosed 7 years ago. I have also met up with a lot of other younger women from Scotland through this site. Some of who haven't posted on this thread yet.

Fee xxxx

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Hi Ruby and all,
I am so pleased you have posted this. I don't believe this statistic either. All the people I have known and most friends of friends who have had BC have been under fifty.
I am 36 and was dx 2 weeks ago, no family history.There should be a consequence for GP's who dismiss women and therefore put these at risk.
xx

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I am 45 and was diagnosed early July this year.

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I am 47 and was diagnosed inApril this year. I found a lunp while int eh shower one weekend morning but luckily I had my yearly smear on the Mondau booked (had pre-cancerous cervical cancer cells in 2001 and on ten-year annual check-up plan)so asked the Nurse to check my breast when I was there. She called my Doctor in to have a feel too and she promptly referred me to the BC centre there and then. I had an appointment the following week where I had a mammogram, ultra-sound and biopsy. I got the results the following week and the following week went in for a lumpectomy and had two lymph nodes removed. I had a 17mm tumour with a further 3mm pre-cancerous margin, but they took it out with a full clearance margin. The two nodes they removed were cancer free. I had Grade 3 and ER+ HER2- and have just had my third of 6x FEC which will be followed by 20 sessions of radiotherapy and I will start Tamoxifen at the same time.
I am so impressed with the speed everyone dealt with me, in fact my Doctor couldn't believe that four weeks to the day she first saw me I was back in her room begging her to sign me 'fit to return to work' as the Doctor at the hospital had signed me off for absolutely weeks!
Karen

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Hi Ruby
I was 45 when diagnosed. My mother went through it in her early seventies.
Jo
xxx

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Hi - My BC was found as result of first routine mammogram at aged 50! Is that old or young? No symptoms or discernible lumps. On biopsy grade 2 12mm IDC with surrounding DCIS. I was called for routine mammogram just after I had booked to go on big trip with son to NZ & America in Jan 2010 -had to cancel and spent the time instead having repeated operations to get clear margins, until I gave up and had both breasts removed. Not the world's most patient non-patient. V happy with outcome now & thankful that the NHS screening programme picked up something that I suspected nothing about - don't know how long it had been there, but if left, it could have spread much further....
Cheers
Maggyx

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Hi
My gp was great. Saw specialist next day, operation less than a week later. I was 45 on diagnosis, found the lump myself.

Rusty

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Hi
I was diagnosed in June this year just before my 50th birthday but God knows how long the cancer had been there. Went to the GP on discovery of a hardish lump while in the shower. She reckoned there was nothing to worry about because of my medical history (do we detect a pattern here), most likely a fibroadenoma, but referred me to the breast clinic all the same. Just as well she did! The result was a grade 1, 37mm cancer with one node affected (had two ops, awaiting chemo to start now. Rads and tamoxifen to follow). When I told the doc about the dx she was as shocked as I was...:-0
It would seem to me, judging by the other threads, that BC is most certainly NOT the domain of older women...
Lulu

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I put myself into the system at age 50 and was diagnosed with localised advanced breast cancer. Had concerns at age 46 but my GPs told me I had nothing to worry about (three visits) hence I was four years misdiagnosed. Some GPs appear to know nothing about breast cancer. They only see approximately one new case per year - as quoted to me by Breast Cancer Care, Breakthrough Breast Cancer and Macmillan. The standard of care throughout the country is NOT the same. Some women are very lucky and get referred even if they have no symptoms but are anxious, others, like myself, had thickening, swelling and lumps under one armpit and are told it is the remains of a viral infection and no referral despite asking. Something needs to but done urgently. We should be able to self-referral if we are not happy with our GP. After all, we probably know our own breasts best and no GP should be playing God with our lives.

Jeannie

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44. Went to docs with swollen lymph nodes in summer 09 and told not to worry.
In January 10 was diagnosed with multi-focal (nine tumours!) grade 3 HER2 pos bc, 7 nodes affected...
No family history of any cancers going back 3 generations, absolutely none of the known risk factors.
Am in the middle of having the full works, treatment-wise. 😞

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41 - just over a year ago. What was described as "probably just a cyst" turned out to be a 6cm - grade 3 - stage 3 - Triple Negative - malignant lump.

Today is the anniversary of my very first chemo - very dramatic - but I am very pleased to be here and healthy today.

BW - Paula

http://www.redshoesgreenpeppers.blogspot.com

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I was 45 at diagnosis.
My mother was 47 and had secondaries in her brain. She was given 6 months to live and lasted 30 years (and didn't die of cancer then).
GP referred me straight away.

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I was 36, misdiagnosed for a couple of years.

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I was 44. No family history of breast cancer, although both parents had died of other cancers.

I saw the most brilliant young locum doctor who got me into the clinic for tests the day after I saw him. I will be forever grateful to him

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i found lump on my 35th birthday -wierd as said family history but no-one that i knew long time ago, since found brca 1 - wish they had found it earlier so i could get tested but now family have. lots of us so young xx

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Hi Tournesol, I have bone mets too. I was diagnosed with bone mets eleven years ago. I hope you are doing well. If you want to chat at any point PM me. Love Val

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I was 37. My main symptom was mild pain in my shoulder/underarm area which had been dismissed as muscular by a GP a year earlier. I'm now almost 46 and was diagnosed with bone secondaries last year. I think there's definitely a case for better education for younger women (and GPs!); I certainly didn't know enough about it.

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I was 29 on finding the lump, a self check in the bath tub.
GP was on the ball and referred me straight away to the hospital. Got an appt a week later, to be dismissed by the consultant as too young. Went back the following week, so they could finish off doing the checks, ultrasound, mammogram etc. Different consultant did the ultrasound, found 3 lumps, all looking friendly, offered me a non-urgent removal..so agreed...feeling very happy that it was all ok. Had the lumpectomy dec 1st..got the phonecall 3 days later..back up to the hospital within 10mins of the phonecall..to be told Stage 3, hormone positive etc...poke and a prod..sign the forms..mastectomy 5 days after that..consultant got the results back..my body had lied to them, showing all signs of being 'friendly' but lying through their lumpy cells! He's not said..you're too young to anyone after that, so was nice to know I was a wake up call for him..however, makes me wonder what wouldve happened if id just left them after the initial telling of 'they are benign'...doesnt bear thinking about at times

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I was diagnosed age 31 and now at 36 have multiple secondaries !!

Max x

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I was 24. I had WLE, mastectomy, and radiotherapy. My GP was great and referred me to the hospital immediately. I went to the doctors fully expecting to be told there was nothing to worry about, and was very shocked when they took it so seriously.

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Hi moomintroll,

I had my last baby when I was 32 and breastfed for over a year and found the lump myself which was the size of a tiny pea. I went immediately to have it checked via my GP. I kept going back for years as I was certain that it wasn't a normal lump ( I had lumpy breats too).
When I was 38/39 I attended my GP about something else and she decided to send me back to the hospital just to check it out again. It never showed up on my mammogram but an ultrasound scan did. When I was told that it was BC I was totally shocked because I thought the lump had disappeared, when in fact it had grown so much I could no longer feel it. It was 5.5cm by then! I owe my life to that GP and recently I met her again and told her (she wasn't my regular GP).
I knew from the first day I felt that lump that it was cancer. That was 21 years ago and things were different then. It was very rare for a young woman to have BC. Val

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I was dx aged 45 in May this year. My mum was dx aged 47 and is still going strong 33 years later.

I've always checked fairly regularly because of my mum. My breasts have been lumpy since having children so have found it hard sometimes to be sure about what is/isn't there. Felt a bit lumpier than normal in April and fp agreed so referred to hospital. They were pretty sure it was nothing more than a cyst, so much so that when I went for the core biopsy the radiologist refused to do it and only did so after I insisted (I was lying semi-naked at the time).

Anyway, vacuum biopsy showed a small cancer which was removed with WLE and reexcision.

The same radiologist inserted the wire for the WLE. She looked suitably remorseful and embarrassed I am happy to say.

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One of the first things I said when I was hit with my diagnosis was that nobody in my family had ever had cancer. The surgeon told me that genetic links only account for a very small number of cancer cases.

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Lulu - it was only last summer at the centre for life in Newcastle... they couldn't get a blood sample as my veins didn't want to play that day... so i had to give a spit sample... she did say it sounded like brca 2 and also said they will be testing me again in the future when the other brcas are identified... unfortunatly we can't do any comparison tests with other cancer patients in the family as they all died and we've long since lost contact with Mum's family in Northern Ireland as all the ones she knew died (plus it was really her older sisters that had kept in contact more...) plus there is that old problem that women change their name on marriage so don't even know what surnames to look for.

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theresa i was going to say your family history does sound like you might have a brca 2 mutation.... when did you have your mutation check and did they do the whole gene? in the past it was common just to look for the more common changes so only around 60% of the gene was tested.

i guess there are so few people with family history as genetics only account for around 5% of BCs

Lx

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It is interesting how many of you had no family history - i was the other extreme horrendous family history... my maternal grandmother died of breast cancer at 45 and all 3 of her sisters also got it in their 40's (all eventually dying) one of my aunts got bc at 48 had an mx and 10 years later it came back and she died with spread to her throat... her daughter also developed throat cancer in her 50's and died... my other aunt died suddenly of a heart attack at 56 but when they did the autopsy found she had also had widespread stomach cancer and her daughter died at 50 of meningitus but again when they did the autopsy found she also had stomach cancer... and when i was growing up my mum was forever hearing that her cousins back in ireland had been diagnosed (my mum's family moved here when she was only about 4 years old)

I've been tested for brca 1 and 2 but it was negative although the genetics people think that something is wrong but might even just be a gene fault in our family...

oh and i first went along to the breast clinic when i was 38 with a concern that turned out to be fine and said then i would happily have a double mastectomy but was poo-hooed... never even got referred to the genetics people... finally suddenly developed IBC (inflammatory breast cancer) at 43 and have since had double mx.

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Hi, diagnosed 3 months after my 30th birthday, no family history of BC although aunt died of cervial cancer.
2.5cm lump, triple negative.
Had WLE, 2 more chemo's to go, then radiotherapy x

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32 with no family history. grade 3. 2cm big. had the works

XXX

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hi all 43 when diagnosed lumpec chemo rads tomox.

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I was 38 in the days before tamoxifen and almost routine chemo or radio therapy. There was no immediate family history. Had 2 girls aged 7 and 2 and a brilliantly supportive husband who saw my breast as no longer attractive but something that was killing me. This made the whole process of my mastectomy so much easier to cope with. My surgeon didn't believe in reconstruction (this was 1983) so have lived with prosthesis ever since. Things have improved in leaps and bounds since those days especially the bras and swimsuits. There was never any suitable nightwear but I solved that last year by designing some mastectomy nightdresses.
I have met a lot of people who have been diagnosed with breast cancer in the last year but all have been over 45 although my daughter has a friend who was diagnosed in her early twenties. She is fine now and has been quite an inspiration in the local community.

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Hi et, please call me Val. I hope you all have a long life. New drugs and treatments keep being discovered. I never thought I would see my daughters grow up....now waiting for grandchildren.....but the girls are not co-operating! I will just have to try to hang arounbd a wee bit longer. Love to all, Val