Cancer is the world’s most notorious serial killer. When it strikes, not only does your body fail you, but so do your emotions, which make it more difficult to fight. So imagine being diagnosed with breast cancer while pregnant, or breast feeding? We couldn’t imagine how difficult that would be, having to fight for your soul and your baby’s.
Younger and younger women are being diagnosed with breast cancer each decade, and according to research, 1 in 10 younger women who were diagnosed with breast cancer detected it while pregnant or breast feeding. The number of women aged under 45 being diagnosed with this cancer is thought to be ever rising, and researchers believe it is due to delayed pregnancies. Studies have shown a relationship between delayed motherhood and an increase in breast cancer risk.
In 2010, the average age of mothers was found to be 30; that is 4 years older than it was in the 70s, and the reason is believed to be that more and more women are putting their personal lives on hold in order to pursue their careers. In Britain, the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer under the age of 50 has increased from 7,700 in 1995 to 10,000 in 2010. Furthermore, researchers estimate that around 10% of women diagnosed with breast cancer yearly are aged under 45 years.
Why is that, you ask? Scientists relate the reason toe estrogen levels. Women in their 20s and early 30s have high levels of estrogen, a hormones which is thought to trigger tumor growth. During pregnancy and breast feeding, women experience a fall in their estrogen hormone levels, which is believed to protect them from breast, ovarian, and womb cancer. However, as women postpone pregnancy they experience longer periods of surging estrogen, which increases their risk of developing cancer earlier.
Generally, women’s risk of breast cancer increases with age, so that is a major factor, too; rates rise steeply from around 30 to 34 years old, stabilize in the 50s, then surge again after 60.