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Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Everything You Need To Know About Juvenile Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2020:Older women are at a higher risk of breast cancer. But in some rare cases, breast cancer can affect girls at a young age. Read here to know about juvenile breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Everything You Need To Know About Juvenile Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Any change in the shape of breast is a sign of breast cancer

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Breast cancer cases are on a rise in the past years
  2. Women at a higher risk should get themselves checked regularly
  3. Control your breast cancer risk with a healthy diet and lifestyle

The month of October is observed as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This month tries to create awareness about the prevention, early detection and much more about breast cancer. Breast cancer incidence increases with increasing age. However, it can occur at any age and in young ladies also. About only 5-7% of breast cancer occurs below the age of forty years, but still, it is one of the most common cancers in this population. Having Breast cancer at young age is biologically different than those occurring in the elderly and poses some unique challenges. Breast cancer is very rare in juvenile age group. The majority of breast masses in children and adolescents are benign, fibroadenoma.

Know about juvenile breast cancer


Rarely, malignant breast masses are found in children. These are either metastatic or disseminated lesions. Secretory carcinoma is a rare primary breast malignancy in paediatric age group. The patients present with a slow growing, round shape, retro-areolar mass with or without nipple discharge. These tumors may have genetic mutations and multiple family members may have history of breast or ovarian cancers, common mutations are BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations.

Secretory carcinoma is most common type of cancer seen in children. Other types less frequently encountered in children are medullary, anaplastic, inflammatory, infiltrating lobular carcinoma. If you feel anything unusual in breast of your kid consult your doctor. After a breast exam, your doctor will ask about your family's medical history when you discover the lump or nipple discharge. If anything looks or feels suspicious, proper evaluation will done by the doctor and your kid may require ultrasound, breast MRI or in few situation whole body PET CT scan and biopsy to make proper diagnosis of the case.

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2020: Juvenile breast cancer is rare
Photo Credit: iStock

Secretory carcinoma has favourable prognosis. This is generally a slow growing, nonaggressive cancer. Though there is low chance of this type of cancer spreading to other parts of the body, a few cases have noted spread to local lymph nodes. It is treated by surgically cutting out the cancer while sparing as much breast tissue as possible.

Your treating doctor may consider chemotherapy and radiation. The risks of these treatments pose to young, developing bodies may outweigh the benefits. Depending on the type of therapy and how long it lasts, it can affect your fertility and increase your chances of other cancers. As majority of breast lumps in children mimic fibroadenomas, a high suspicion is required to get to the diagnosis, thereby guiding appropriate management. Though secretory carcinoma is a very rare breast cancer, it is important to create awareness on the possibility of malignancy in the masses for an accurate diagnosis.


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(Dr. Niranjan Naik, Director, Surgical Oncology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram)

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