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Breast Cancer In Young Women Rising

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Young women are much less likely than older women to be diagnosed with breast cancer -- but research showing a tripling of advanced breast cancer cases in women under forty is for some doctors, a disturbing trend. 

Although the overall number of cases of advanced breast cancer in women under 40 are small, Dr. John Pippen,   a medical oncologist at the Baylor Sammons Cancer Center in Dallas, says it is a serious concern. 

“These patients that present with breast cancer that spreads to the bone or liver cannot be cured (...) We do have more and more successful treatment that helps prolong their life, but we can’t cure the cancer.”

Dr. Pippen says there’s no explanation for why a higher number of younger women might have advanced breast cancer today, though theories abound. His advice: be aware, do self-examinations and go to annual checkups. 

“And if you go to your doctor and they say oh I think that’s just a cyst, or oh, you’re too young, go to another doctor, get it investigated and find out what’s causing the lump in the breast because even though the chances are small there are real chance that there could be a breast cancer in someone that young, ” he says.

Local Resources: 

Baylor Medical Center at Irving
972-579-4310 
Provides educational outreach and free mammograms and breast cancer treatment for low-income women in Irving that are uninsured or underinsured.

Methodist Health System
214-947-0026
Breast health services are provided by the Methodist Mobile Mammography Unit and at Methodist Dallas and Methodist Charlton Medical Centers.

Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas
214-363-2004  
With assistance from the Dallas County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen, Planet Parenthood of Greater Texas provides low-income and uninsured women with mammograms. 

Lauren Silverman was the Health, Science & Technology reporter/blogger at KERA News. She was also the primary backup host for KERA’s Think and the statewide newsmagazine  Texas Standard. In 2016, Lauren was recognized as Texas Health Journalist of the Year by the Texas Medical Association. She was part of the Peabody Award-winning team that covered Ebola for NPR in 2014. She also hosted "Surviving Ebola," a special that won Best Long Documentary honors from the Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). And she's won a number of regional awards, including an honorable mention for Edward R. Murrow award (for her project “The Broken Hip”), as well as the Texas Veterans Commission’s Excellence in Media Awards in the radio category.