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Quick GuideBreast Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment
What's the Best Way for Younger Women to Screen for Breast Cancer?
The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that all women 20 years of age or older should perform monthly breast self-examinations . The best time to perform BSE is the day after your monthly period ends. Becoming familiar with the look and feel of their breasts offers the best chance for a young woman to notice and change.
In addition to monthly BSE, annual clinical breast exams performed by your doctor are recommended for all women beginning at age 20. Annual screening mammograms also are recommended at age 40. Women younger than 40 who have a family history or other risk factors for breast cancer should discuss their risk and an appropriate screening schedule with their health care providers.
How Is Breast Cancer Treated in Younger Women?
The course of treatment for breast cancer at any age is based on the extent of the person's disease (whether or not it has spread beyond the breast), as well as the woman's general health and personal circumstances.
Radiation therapy is generally used following a lumpectomy, and chemotherapy and/or hormone therapy often are recommended after surgery to help destroy any remaining cancer cells and prevent recurrence.
Breast cancer poses other challenges for younger women, as well, such as sexuality, fertility and pregnancy after breast cancer treatment.
Reviewed by the doctors at The Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Center.
Edited by Charlotte E. Grayson, MD, WebMD, February 2004.
Portions of this page © The Cleveland Clinic 2000-2005