One month after undergoing a mammogram live on “Good Morning America,” ABC reporter Amy Robach announced Monday she has been diagnosed with breast cancer and will undergo a double mastectomy later this week.
At 40-years old, Robach is among a population of younger women with breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, about 5 percent of all breast cancer cases in the United States occur in women age 40 and younger.
“Breast cancer can and does effect women in their 40’s and younger,” said Ann Partridge, MD, MPH, founder and director of the Program for Young Women with Breast Cancer in the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancer at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “When younger women are diagnosed with breast cancer, they face not only concerns about the breast cancer itself; they may also have issues with fertility and family planning, genetics, sexual function, as well as emotional hurdles that may be more difficult to handle compared to older women.”
“The good news,” adds Partridge, “is that with treatment, the vast majority of these young women will live beyond breast cancer to have healthy lives.”
Partridge says women should consider yearly mammograms beginning at age 40, although women with a family history of breast cancer may need to start mammography earlier. Robach noted in this morning’s report that she had been putting off her first mammogram for over a year.
“That day, when I was asked to do something I really didn’t want to do…I had no way of knowing that it was a life-or-death situation,” Robach said in her ABC News Health Blog post.
For more information on breast cancer, visit the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers Breast Oncology Program website. Or, view these other resources below: