Breast Cancer Rates in Under 50’s Reach Record Figures

Photo Credit: Breast Cancer UK

by Bridget Owen

It was today announced that according to the latest figures from Breast Cancer UK, more women than ever under the age of 50 are being diagnosed with the disease.

Breast Cancer is the most common cancer to affect women, accounting for around one third of all new cancer cases.

Figures from Breast Cancer UK showed “10,068 women under the age of 50 in the UK were diagnosed with the disease in 2010 – 2,356 more than in 1995.”

It is thought that the rise is due to hormonal factors, such as the use of the contraceptive pill, alcohol consumption, and women having children at an older age.

Despite the rise in women being diagnosed with Breast Cancer, figures also showed that survival rates have also improved, a positive sign for the treatment and care of those affected by the disease.

‘The death rate fell from nine per 100,000 women under 50 in 1993-1995 to five per 100,000 in 2008-2010 in the UK’

Claire White, 24, a third year Sociology Student from Hull was diagnosed with the disease a few days before her 21st Birthday.

“I couldn’t quite believe I’d be celebrating my 21st birthday knowing I had a life threatening disease.”

Claire has since beaten Cancer and is now in remission.

“My family have been really supportive. Everyone was so shocked that I’ve been affected by breast cancer so early in my life. I also had to have one of my breasts removed which has really affected my confidence. It’s important to be cautious of cancer no matter what age you are.”

Sara Hiom, Breast Cancer UK “The number of cases in women under 50 diagnosed with breast cancer is increasing slowly but, thanks to research, awareness and improved care, more women than ever before are surviving the disease.”

Chris Askew, Breakthrough Breast Cancer: “Although breast cancer is more common in older women, it’s worrying to see an increase in the number of younger women diagnosed with the disease. We must invest in vital research for new treatments and disease prevention.”

It’s possible that you will know someone in your lifetime that will be affected by Cancer. You can help fund-raise for Cancer Research through taking part in Race for Life, a sponsored 5K run which happens every year at locations across the UK. (Or Race for Life Twilight if you’re more of a night owl!)

Race for Life – Remembering those lost to Breast Cancer Credit: Cancer Research UK

“Since Race for Life started in 1994, an incredible six million women have come together and raised more than £493 million for Cancer Research UK’s life-saving work, making it the UK’s largest women-only fundraising event.”

Other large Cancer Research UK events include Shine, a night time walking marathon, Relay for Life, a 24 hour community event and the Bupa Great North and Great South Runs, the biggest races in the country.

For more information about Breast Cancer, fundraising or how to donate to Cancer Research please visit:

Photo Credit: NHS

Being Breast Aware: Tips from the NHS

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) advises that being breast aware means:

  • knowing what’s normal for you
  • looking at your breasts and and feeling them
  • knowing what changes to look for
  • reporting any changes without delay
  • attending routine breast screening if you’re 50 or over

Changes in the breast

Be aware of the following changes in your breasts:

  • changes in the outline or shape of the breast, especially those caused by arm movements or by lifting the breast
  • changes in the look or feel of the skin, such as puckering or dimpling
  • discomfort or pain in one breast that is unusual, particularly if it is new and persistent
  • any new lumps, thickening or bumpy areas in one breast or armpit, which differs from the same part of the other breast and armpit
  • nipple discharge that’s new for you and not milky
  • bleeding from the nipple
  • moist, red areas on the nipple that don’t heal easily
  • any change in nipple position, such as pulled up or pointing differently
  • a rash on or around the nipple

If you notice any of these changes, see your GP – even if you have previously attended a breast screening.

Sara Hiom, Cancer Research UK “It’s more likely not to be cancer but if it is, detecting it early gives the best chance of successful treatment.”

Visit for more information on prevention, screening and treatment.

More from Bridget Owen


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