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Mammogram for the under 40

lovelylola's picture
lovelylola
Posts: 279
Joined: Aug 2009

I have a question for the group. I've noticed that there are a number of women on this site who are under 40. Did you find the lump on your own or were you already getting mammos? I have been getting them since I was 25 (60 now). I started with the baseline several years after my mother was dx with BC and we knew her mom had had it too. Hey, I won the BC lottery for risk factor.
Since my diagnosis, my daughter-in-law (who just turned 30) asked me when she should start getting annuals. No history in her family. After noticing how many younger women were diagnosed, thought maybe it wouldn't hurt. But she has found out that her PCP doesn't refer women under 40. Oner of her friends, with the same doctor, tried last year.
This worries me. It's such a treatable disease if caught early.
I actually told her if she really wants to get one as a baseline now, to tell her PCP that she felt something.
What are the thoughts of the BC sisterhood on this topic? Are the doctors missing something? After my dx she is wanting to be on top of this. Thanks for the help. Lola

karen0423
Posts: 67
Joined: Jun 2009

Hi Lola, I was 35 when dx 7 years ago and never had a mammogram until that dreadful day. I did find the lump myself and called my OBGYN. It was an 8cm tumor and it seriously just was there. Had 2 Dr appts months before and nothing was felt by them or me. My sisters immediately went for one, I have 3 sisters, at the time they were 37, 33 and 32. Because there was now a family history they are screened every year. We had no family history of breast cancer or any cancer so we didn't get a mammogram before my dx. I did the BRCA1 and BRCA 2 gene testing and it was negative. Hope this helps. Karen

mimivac's picture
mimivac
Posts: 2147
Joined: Dec 2008

diagnosed at 34. I had never had a mammogram, but all of the sudden I had a huge lump in my left breast. They take it seriously when it grows that fast. I had very little family history and initially had a hard time getting a mammogram, but I insisted. Unfortunately, it is not as unusual as you may think to have breast cancer in your 30's and even 20's. And, tragically, young breast cancer is more aggressive breast cancer. It's a different beast in young women and more of them die. So, it's important to be vigilant.

Dawne.Hope's picture
Dawne.Hope
Posts: 820
Joined: Sep 2009

Lola,

My mom was dx stage 4 bc in 2000. Her surgeon at the time told me that I needed to start getting mammos. at 35. Times have changed since then! And if her diagnosis had happened now they would have told me to start getting them earlier.

I had to pay for them myself - insurance wouldn't pay.

This year, at 39, I felt something in my right breast. Mammo. showed nothing, ultra-sound showed nothing. But there were calicfications in my left breast. Couldn't feel it, gyno. couldn't feel it. It was DCIS.

I'd say to your younger family members ... get them!!!!! Get the gene test, if it is positive, insurance may cover it. But get them!

I've heard too what Mimi has said. It tends to be more aggressive in younger women, the earlier you find it, the better.

nadca
Posts: 14
Joined: Aug 2009

My cat found mine. Had yealy pys may 7th ish. 1-2 weeks later lump found. Just had mas. We just started trying for a baby. Sorry all I am having a really bad day. Very bitter..

taleena's picture
taleena
Posts: 1612
Joined: May 2009

Hi Lola... I was dx'd this year in May... I am 42... becuase of family history (my mother had breast cancer twice, once at 38 and the second time at 42 which she opted for mast. each time 28 and 30 years ago)... because of her history, I have been having annual mamograms since I was around 30. The doctor thinks that I my cancer was present several years ago... thank goodness it was grade one and very slow growing... Though there was an area of concern for over a year and a half, which by the way they never biopsied, I ultimately found it myself when it had grown enough to be felt standing up in the shower. It was the same area the breast clinic had been "watching"..... Because of this experience, I am an avid believer in teaching and telling our daughters and granddaughters, nieces and friends, to do self exams... we need to know our own bodies, and when we sense something changing we need to speak out...

Deb1969's picture
Deb1969
Posts: 165
Joined: Aug 2009

Yes I think women should have a mammogram done much earlier than 40. Im 39 and found a lump 2 days after my annual exam. I was huge I dont see how they missed it. No family history of breast CA. I have a daughter who is 20, her insurance will pay for her to have a mammo now that I have a dx of breast CA. Your right some PCP will not order a mammo before 40. Thats an idea for women, say they felt something or complain of breast pain.
Deb

Katz77
Posts: 598
Joined: Sep 2009

I to have noticed a disturbinb observation. I was dx at age 48 (well above 40), and I no known family hx. Dad's side little scitchy. I have two daughters 23 and 30. I being in the medical field taught them at an early age to self exam. I told my oldest daughter she needed an mammo, and for my youngest to get herself checked at her drs(she had an appt.)and to tell her about my dx and to see if she needed a mammo. Well was surprised at both of their replys back to me. The oldest dr said she was to young, and the youngest dr said not to worry about it! Two daughters, two diff drs and a mother w a very aggressive brst ca and node involvement, and a scitchy hx on their gfathers side. My advice to them was to demand a mammo or ultrasound for at least a baseline. My ca WAS a fibroid and was told to back off caffiene! It grew to ca in 2months time All lymph nodes too. Early detection! Ur daughter-in-law has the right to a mammo. I don't understand what the issue is. At my chemo sessions, their are two under the age of thirty.

e_hope's picture
e_hope
Posts: 371
Joined: Sep 2009

Katz... all the data I have read is 10 years younger than your diagnosis... So your daughter will start at 38... I have a 7 year old daughter... So I am so concerned about her as she gets older.. She will have to start at 26... I agree I don't see the harm in a baseline at 30... I know too many young woman who have this horrible disease...

lanie940's picture
lanie940
Posts: 492
Joined: Jul 2009

My friend who was my Maid of Honor in my wedding found a lump in her breast at age 25. Her GYN just told her she was too young and it was hormonal changes! NOT! He put her off for 4 months! She started getting oozings out of her nipple. Went to another Dr. He ordered her a insisional biopsy. It was definately cancer, she had a modified radical mastectomy at age 25. She never had radiation or chemo or hormone treatment. She is 57 now, and is doing great. What the heck is wrong with these Drs?

outdoorgirl's picture
outdoorgirl
Posts: 1569
Joined: Apr 2009

I think that unless you have a family history,they normally don't ask you to get a mammo until you're 40-just at a certain age they give you a breast exam with your womens exam,and if they find something,they'll order one for you then.
Yes,I wish they would order them earlier as well because I've heard of too many young women being diagnosed-I think part of the problem is insurance probably-probably aren't as quick to pay for it if you're under the age of 40...

lanie940's picture
lanie940
Posts: 492
Joined: Jul 2009

My Drs in the Cancer Care say 30 for baseline if you have a first relative family history. Like Mother,Sister. I had my first one at age 40. They have all been fine until this last one!

e_hope's picture
e_hope
Posts: 371
Joined: Sep 2009

Hi.. I am 36 diagnosed Feb 2009.. I have no family history of breast cancer or any other cancer for that matter... First in my family.. aren't I lucky... NOT!!!!

I found my lump by doing a self breast exam which I would do every couple of months. I never thought I had to worry till I was much older... I was 35 when I found lump right before my 36 th birthday,I have a birthday right after christmas, so I waited till the new year and to see if it would just go away because when I found the lump I was due to get my period in a few days and it was the holidays. so went to the doctor 3 weeks later, called first week in Jan., got an appt to see her the next week and then had my first ever mammogram 2 weeks after that..

I have read woman with a direct family history should start 10 years younger than youngest family diagnosed. Without family history they still recommend 40.. She just needs to be dillagent about doing self breast exams.. I was shocked to find out how many of my friends never do them.. So I am such an advocate for them.. It saved my life...

Sam726's picture
Sam726
Posts: 233
Joined: Sep 2009

I am 33 and just newly diagnosed. I have no family history, and I do not have the BC gene. I found my lump accidentally while adjusting my bra. It infuriates me now to think that the insurance companies wont cover these unless you are 40 or have a history. Since my diagnosis, i have been encouraging my young friends to get a mammogram!! Maybe your daughter in law should see someone else. I dont see what the hurt would be to get one...if you ask me, the earlier the better. I wish I would have...even though I found mine very early, I could have found even sooner! Good luck and I hope this helps..

Cat64's picture
Cat64
Posts: 1192
Joined: Aug 2009

I get so mad when I read stories like these! No doctor should ever deny(or have the right to) someone a simple test! Maybe you should tell that doc to come on here and read how many "young" women there are & joining everyday! My dog actually found my lump back in May'08-No family history here either. I didn't have insurance at the time so I went to the Health Dept.(Whole 'nother story about my experience, but I will say that I wouldn't be in the situation I am now if the hospital would of taken the time to listen to me & had someone more professional reading my Ultrasound & Mammo!) This may be another option for your D-I-L, they have a grant that will help or pay for it entirely,there are plenty of places that can do it on a sliding scale as well if $ is an issue. I would find a way to get it done! Don't take "No" for an answer!
Hugz,
Cathy

Dawne.Hope's picture
Dawne.Hope
Posts: 820
Joined: Sep 2009

Cathy,

I didn't have insurance, either and have paid out of pocket.

This year, things were really tight and I simply didn't have the money, but felt something and totally went to my ob-gyn anyway and just thought I would charge it. They hooked me up with a program in my state that pays for mammos for women who don't have insurance. So ... there are programs out there if you need financial help.

Cat64's picture
Cat64
Posts: 1192
Joined: Aug 2009

I believe mine was a Susan B Komen grant. It's a shame that these things are not publicized more to encourage women to get one & also let them know that help "IS" available! Glad you pursued getting one! Although sorry you got the result of cancer. As we are learning & have learned,that it's so much better to be safe than sorry!
Hugz,
Cathy

cheyennedawn's picture
cheyennedawn
Posts: 70
Joined: Sep 2009

I am 35 now, I had my first mammo at age 32. My breasts are very lumpy, and it was important to watch it. I had a biopsy when I was 32, because I had a large lump, but it turned out to be a cyst. When I was dx at the end of July, 2009, the tumor was in the same spot that the cyst had been in. I have no family history of breast cancer. My sister called her doctor to schedule a mammo last week, but because of her age, they refused! She is 28. I told her to switch doctors. I feel that women should have mammos at 30 or 35, not 40. It needs to be done earlier. Early detection is so important. My daughter is only 8 now, but I am going to insist that she be tested early on.

Sam726's picture
Sam726
Posts: 233
Joined: Sep 2009

I found my lump on my own...I am 33 with no family history. I am so lucky to have a gynocologist that referred me to a surgeon the next day. No questions asked...I think if you want a mammo, you should be entitled to a mammo.

Bella Luna's picture
Bella Luna
Posts: 1569
Joined: Aug 2009

Totally agree, insurance companies need to change their policy and reduce the age for women to get mammograms. It's a logical move that is a preventative measure. It will save lives and , not to mention, money.

I was diagnosed at 44 via a mammogram. No history of cancer in my family either.

BL

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