Breast cancer at 20? It can happen

Even students need to check themselves, as one woman's tale shows

Now Breast Cancer Awareness Month is over for another year, it is more important than ever to stress a key word: “awareness”. While over 80 per cent of breast cancers occur in women over the age of 50, and the chances of developing the disease in your twenties are relatively slim, it does not hurt to become and remain aware.

People of all ages and from different walks of life are affected by breast cancer, and when it sneakily rears its ugly face, be it to you or a loved one, it can feel like the end of the world. Support and guidance is offered to patients and their families after diagnoses but you could also battle the disease before you enter the risk category of developing it. That’s right; you can try and prevent breast cancer early on by knowing your stuff, whether you are 20 or 60, a student or retired.

Various breast cancer charities across the UK, including Breast Cancer Care, offer information about breast awareness, how you can identify anything out of the ordinary and when to seek medical advice. As a student, it can be daunting thinking about these sorts of things, especially if you are far from home. However, your health should be at the top of your priorities list and so performing the relevant checks regularly can save you a lot of unnecessary stress.

Take care to take care of yourself

While it is extremely rare to develop breast cancer in your 20s and 30s, there are still other breast-related issues that you need to be aware of such as fibroadeonmas and other benign conditions include calcifications, cysts, duct ectasia, fat necrosis, gynaecomastia, Mondor’s disease and many more. The most important thing to know is that everyone is different so be aware of anything that may appear different for you. For more information, click here

A breast check needn’t be time-consuming or frightening. It can take a couple of minutes while in the shower or getting ready and simply involves having a good look in the mirror and feeling around for anything unusual.

Meanwhile, make sure that you are registered at your university medical centre/surgery if you are living away from home. Do not feel that any concern you might have is too small – your GP will be happy to give a professional opinion and, if necessary, offer further advice.

Case study: It can happen at university

One 22 year-old student, who wishes to remain anonymous, speaks about her scare when she discovered a breast lump back in her first year at the University of Kent

Starting university fresh out of sixth form back in 2010 was one of the most exciting experiences of my life. By my second term, my studies were going well, I had made some great friends and I had a couple of festivals lined up for the summer to look forward to. But one day I noticed a lump in my right breast.

I ignored it for a few weeks until I spoke to a friend about it and she made me book an appointment with the on-campus medical centre. I was seen to immediately and referred to my local breast clinic back home so I could be with my family. Luckily the lump turned out to be a benign (non-cancerous) fibroadenoma, but it had grown by a couple of millimeters in the last month and so I was given the option to have it removed.

I had a quick and painless operation to remove it two months later, had a few follow-up appointments and was putting my tent up at Hop Farm Festival in no time. While fibroadenomas are common – especially in young women – and do not increase the risk of developing breast cancer, I could not help but feel like I had a lucky escape.

Two and a half years on, I still make sure that I check for anything unusual as often as possible, and encourage my friends to do so too. I have a scar but I love it because it reminds me just how important it is to look after yourself.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
football
News
Tangerine Dream Edgar Froese
people
News
Rob Lowe
peopleRob Lowe hits out at Obama's snub of Benjamin Netanyahu
News
Davies (let) says: 'Everybody thought we were having an affair. It was never true!'
people'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
News
Staff assemble outside the old City Road offices in London
mediaThe stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century at Britain's youngest paper
Life and Style
The Oliver twins, Philip and Andrew, at work creating the 'Dizzy' arcade-adventure games in 1988
techDocumentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Arts and Entertainment
Krall says: 'My hero player-singer is Elton John I used to listen to him as a child, every single record
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Wu-Tang Clan will sell only one copy of their album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
musicWu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own only copies of their latest albums
News
i100
Environment
Number so freshwater mussels in Cumbria have plummeted from up to three million in the 20th century to 500,000
environment
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Junior Developer - Cirencester - £29,000

£25000 - £29000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have be...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Data Analyst - Essex - £25,000

£23500 - £25000 per annum + Training: Ashdown Group: Graduate Data analyst/Sys...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Account Manager

£16000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate Account Manager is r...

Guru Careers: Graduate Account Manager / Sales Executive

£18k + Uncapped Commission (£60k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Account Man...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us