Cancer is a disease in which cells abnormally multiply themselves in an uncontrollable way. Majorly breast cancer occurs in women, although at times men also become victims. Although the disease is predominant in older women, it also occurs in younger women. Statistics show that many young women suffer from this disease and other disease-related effects. Young people are very sensitive as they make the future; therefore there is a great need to identify potential opportunities for cancer prevention and to control interventions in this population. The aspects of this study are to identify types of breast cancer in young women and the effects on their body as well as the psychological and physical influences on their lives in general. Any woman can face breast cancer irrespective of her age. Women diagnosed at a younger age are likely to have a mutation in a certain gene that increases their risk for breast and ovarian cancer (Breast cancer resource directory, 2010-2011). The breast cancer in young women can be more aggressive than in older and react less to hormone treatment. This makes majority of young women that are diagnosed at the young age not able to survive even at least five years after diagnosis. Diagnosing breast cancer in younger women can be more difficult because their breast tissue is denser than the breast tissue of older women.
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There is a need to create awareness management of breast cancer and also find solutions to protect the diagnosed young women from other factors such as distress and anxiety. Young women with breast cancer have special concerns such as keeping their fertility and body image. This disease is dangerous and needed early detection and treatment. The earlier cancer is detected the more successful the result is likely to be. If detected early enough, subsequent treatment will generally result in better health conditions i.e. increased survival rate and/or improved quality of life due to less invasive treatment.
According to the Womenshealth.gov, a wonderful interactive website for women, there is a need to educate and create awareness among women on different diseases and ways to deal with them. Breast cancer is a killer disease that women must be wary of. Women are encouraged to go for screening as it helps to detect breast cancer before a woman develops any physical symptoms. This website gives information on breast cancer symptoms. For instance, nipple’s discharge or changes in shape of the breast are some of the common symptoms. This helps the young women get early treatment if it is found to be positive of the disease. Women are also educated on the various types of treatment depending on the stage of the disease. Breast cancer has many types and treatment depends from its type. The national cancer institute website gives the most common types of breast cancer. To begin with is the ductal carcinoma. This type is the most common among women (counts for over 85%). It begins in cells that line a breast duct. The lobular carcinoma is another type which begins in a lobule of the breast. The inflammatory breast cancer is another type although it rarely occurs. Other types include the invasive ductal carcinoma and the invasive lobular carcinoma. There many types of disease treatment depending on the stage. Surgery is the most common treatment, where all the cancer is to be removed from the breast. At times, all the breast may be removed, and breast reconstruction is done to rebuild it. Radiation therapy is another type of treatment where the cancer cells are killed or prevented from growing by use of high energy x-rays. Chemotherapy is where drugs are used to kill or prevent multiplication of cancer. This method of treatment often stops menopause in women. Hormone therapy is where the hormone estrogen is induced to reduce the body’s ability to make hormones that keep cancer growing. This eventually prevent the occurrence of breast cancer. Lastly, the target therapy where drugs or other medical substances used to attack specific cancer cells without harming normal body cells.
According to researchers at Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths of young women. The researchers outline that more than 11,000 young women are diagnosed breast cancer each year. These statistics make awareness on breast cancer a necessity among young women. The young women are becoming more vulnerable to this disease. Often many of these cases are misdiagnosed by doctors as they take it for any other normal illness. Doctors opt to be keen and vigilant in their treatment and detect this disease at it early stage. The young women who undergo diagnosis face a number of issues. This is because chemotherapy results into some side effects on the young women. Treatment of breast cancer can be done in either through breast conservation surgery or mastectomy. This treatment often induces menopause, moreover raising fear among the women. The concern is that chemotherapy-induced menopause can affect fertility of the women. The researchers therefore suggest that it is advisable for women to consult a specialist before undergoing this process. Another concern is about cancer during pregnancy. Breasts undergo a lot of normal changes during pregnancy and become lumpier and thicker than normal. Treatment at this stage should be done in order not to cause more complications. For instance, chemotherapy cannot be exercised during the first trimester as it can damage the fetus. Premenopausal woman who has a hormone-sensitive tumor and whose period returns may benefit from an induced temporary menopause.
Another research study conducted on the relationship between age and fear of cancer recurrence (FCR) where women were divided into groups according to their age revealed that younger women are more associated with FCR. The key mediators for this research were anxiety and intrusiveness. This diagnosis can cause a range of emotions. Many of these women felt shocked, distressed and fearful. Some of these factors may eventually develop depression or anxiety. FCR is associated with impairment in functioning, psychological distress, and stress-response symptoms. A conclusion was made that young people are more associated with FCR because they fear dying at a young age. Moreover, the young mothers also fear to leave small children behind. Given this high prevalence of FCR and its negative psychosocial impact among the young women, interventions are urgently needed.
A research conducted by the Australian government (Breast cancer network Australia, 2010) indicates that breast cancer is the most common disease among Australian women. After diagnosis, the relative survival rates have increased, calling for more researches to be undertaken about cancer prevention. This research also agrees that younger women face other issues in treatment than older women. Such issues include fertility, sexuality and body image. Treatment can affect a woman's ability to become pregnant although there is no reliable test to find out menopause changes. This research adds that although some breast cancer treatment can cause menstrual periods to stop, this doesn’t necessarily mean a woman can’t become pregnant during treatment. It is therefore important for women who are sexually active to continue to use contraception during and after breast cancer treatment.
Systematic review journal by Jessica and her colleagues identify three key domains of functioning that are particularly relevant for younger breast cancer survivors. These are: health-related quality life, menopausal symptoms and fertility concerns, and behavioral health outcomes were examined in the literature review. Young women were found to be mainly concerned with premature menopause, menopausal symptoms, and infertility. They argue that these issues had a chief role in the level of anxiety and distress on the survivors after undergoing treatment. Other concerns were on body matters such as weight gain and physical inactivity. Depressive symptoms (such as depressed mood, guilt, worthlessness, hopelessness, loss of sleep, and appetite disturbance, which are evaluated by standardized clinical assessments of depression) were commonly reported by younger breast cancer survivors. This called for alarm for more researches in order to put efforts at intervention to manage these symptoms and adverse health outcomes.
According to Young Survival Coalition many young women also assume that breast cancer also occurs in older colleagues. From the testimony of a teenage survivor, we see that there is a need to create awareness among the young people. She admits that she never expected to be infected at such young age. Owing to the right decision she began to seek treatment, she was able to survive the disease unlike her elder sister whose efforts to be saved could not bear any fruit. The Young Survival Coalition gave her the required support. According to this organization, taking facts and action could save many young women’s lives as no prevention strategy has been found by the researchers. Young women therefore must be the advocate of their own lives.
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