U. S. Breast Cancer Epidemic Hitting Young Moms and Other Women of Childbearing Age

In   2009, about 62,520 women of childbearing age in the United States were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.  This is a whopping 41% increase from 2001, when approximately 44, 300 women of childbearing age were reportedly diagnosed with the disease, according to recent American Cancer Society statistics.

These younger American women are being hit with triple negative, HER2 positive and estrogen positive breast cancers; diseases  that usually maim, sometimes kill and often bankrupt a woman’s current and future financial situation.

In recent years young media leaders and celebrities have shared their personal breast cancer diagnoses, including Fox News political reporter Jennifer Griffin (triple negative); ABC’s Good Morning America host,  Robin Roberts (triple negative); National Public Radio’s Tavis Smiley Show Executive Producer,  Sheryl Flowers, who died from triple negative breast cancer in 2009 at the age of 42, folksinger Melissa Ethridge (HER2 positive) and film star, Christina Applegate.

Why is this new epidemic happening to our younger women? How can younger women help stop breast cancer from happening to them ever… or never again?

For more information on why younger women in the U.S. are facing this current breast cancer epidemic, and for specific ways each woman can help lower her risk of developing breast cancer ever… or never again, sign on to The Truth About Breast Cancer blog  http://www.thetruthaboutbreastcancer.com
visit   http://www.knowbreastcancer.net become a Facebook fan and Twitter.

Mammograms do not prevent breast cancer

Breast health centers, affiliated with medical centers around the U.S., are up in arms. Breast imaging radiologists are about to lose one third of their clients because a federal advisory panel just said that women, younger than 50, should not have an annual or bi-annual mammogram.

With fewer mammograms being given, oncologists are also going to see a sharp drop in their income from  “Stage Zero” or “ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)” , also called “atypical breast cells ”  patients. These small, non cancerous, often calcified,  portions of a milk duct,  can  only be found  by using an x-ray.  But atypical cells, or Stage Zero breast cancer, or DCIS, is the  predominant diagnosis among  women in their 40’s who  have annual screening mammograms.

Given the misnomer,  “stage zero breast cancer” (stage zero means that you don’t have breast cancer), the U.S. cancer industry often treats these irregular cells as though they are cancerous, with surgeons performing biopsies, lumpectomies, recommending radiation and estrogen-lowering drugs, and even suggesting the idea of single or double mastectomies if patients want to avoid further treatment or eliminate any risks of developing invasive breast cancer in the future. Foul ball!

At a national conference on DCIS this past September, experts agreed that we know next to nothing about these atypical cells,  except how to find them. The National Breast Cancer Coalition is recommending changing the term DCIS to “atypical hyperplasia,” in order to lower the fear factor that now strikes women when told they have a “ductal carcinoma in situ” or “stage zero breast cancer.”  It would be nice if  honesty about these non-cancerous cells could see the light of day.

Meanwhile, until last week, the U.S. was the only nation in the world that encouraged, or even allowed women during their 40’s,  to go near a mammography machine.  Over the years,  Canadian and European medical practitioners have watched the U.S. mammogram policy in disbelief.

Here is an email I received a few weeks ago from Paula, a 50 year old mother of two, diagnosed with DCIS after having an annual screening mammogram in 2007.

“You may not remember me but I was one of those women who were at one of your first meetings who broke down in tears after having just learned we had breast cancer. …. I went on to research my diagnosis and options.

It turns out I had a very low grade slow growing in situ for which I had a lumpextory (sic).  I refused radiation and refused to take tamoxifen — much to the chagrin of my doctors. I am recurrence free after   2 years and continually fighting all the recommended MRI’s (toxic dye solutions) and most of those additional mammograms they keep trying to give me. I am probably one of those over-diagnosed and over-treated women who are swelling the ranks of “breast cancer” survivors.”

Now that women like Paula will be spared annual screening mammograms in their 40’s,  those hospital- sponsored “breast health centers” , that have sprouted up around the country,  stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenues,  as  Paula, along with a huge chunk of their youngest clients disappear.

More women should read the full report on what participants at that recent national conference had to say about what we don’t know about DCIS  and what we need to know about DCIS or “Stage Zero” breast cancer.