Breast cancer in young women is typically more aggressive than breast cancer in older women. This is because younger women who have breast cancer are more likely to have a genetic predisposition to the disease.
While it's important to detect any cancer as early as possible, it's vital for women under the age of 50. That's because genetic cancers are often the fastest growing cancers. Most doctors will tell you mammograms are the best way to detect early breast cancer. But, unfortunately, mammograms aren't a reliable way to find small tumors.
Six studies concluded that mammograms detected less than half of the small tumors in women with this genetic predisposition (women who carried the BRCA gene). A Swedish trial found there was no reduction in mortality for women under 50, although those who were older had a 30% reduction. Four of these trials found that mammography was less accurate than MRI in detecting hereditary breast cancers.
The good news is there's a much better way to detect breast cancer before it strikes. Breast thermography is an under-used diagnostic tool for early detection. It can find pre-cancerous conditions before a tumor forms. The only tumors that are unlikely to show in thermograms are those that are slow-growing and not aggressive.
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Thermography is infrared imaging – a diagnostic tool that uses no radiation or compression. It identifies and measures heat in the breast. Heat can be a sign that extra blood vessels have formed to feed hungry cancer cells. For more information on thermography, go to www.breastthermography.com. You can also learn more in the articles on my website. All subscribers to my print newsletter can view these at no extra cost.
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand
PS. It came to my attention that the article naming apathy as a disease was an April Fool's joke. My health alert, however, still stands. Drug companies keep looking for diseases they can cure with their products, and often the cure lies elsewhere – with a better diet, a regular exercise program, and spending time with good friends. Before you reach for the latest over-the-counter medication or ask your doctor whether or not a new prescription drug is best for you, look at making a few lifestyle changes first.
Haffty, Bruce G., et al. "Outcome of conservatively managed early-onset breast cancer by BRCA1/2 status," The Lancet, April 27, 2002.