The latest news on this change — carefully culled from the world wide web by our change agents. They do the surfing, so you don't have to!
The Young and Underrepresented
When Christina Applegate was diagnosed with breast cancer, women her age and younger shuttered. Many thought she was too young to have breast cancer, yet Applegate is part of a much larger group than most people realize. More than 250,000 women under the age of 40 are living with breast cancer, and 11,000 will be diagnosed in the next year, according to MarketWatch.com.
Breast cancer can be particularly difficult to detect in younger women because their breast tissue is denser and therefore hides tumors better. MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) are reputable at detecting these camouflaged tumors, but they’re generally very expensive procedures. MRIs also have a high false-positive ration. For these reasons, doctors generally don’t recommend them for younger women unless they have a strong family history of breast cancer.
This places younger women with breast cancer in a minority. They have little representation in research and few survivors to profile genetically. Some progress is being made, such as through the Annie Fox Act of 2007. This legislation, named after 35-year-old Annie Fox who succumbed to breast cancer in 2002, provides $9 million annually for breast cancer research for this younger age group. Yet more progress can be made. If you or a woman you love has been diagnosed with breast cancer, talk to a doctor about being a study participant. The more young women with breast cancer participate in studies, the more researchers can learn and create better treatment plans. Speak up and be an active advocate of change!
Have you or someone you know ever participated in a medical study? What was your experience?