Can Children Get Breast Cancer?

Studies indicate that child breast cancer occurs once globally every 5-years or so; however, this indication would be better described as “speculation only,” as there is no real evidence to confirm this either way. Although, the figures do tend to work-out around a 0.1% chance of a child being diagnosed with breast cancer (that is a 0.1% chance of either a boy or girl being diagnosed).

Of that 0.1%, it would be more common for an adolescent or teenager being affected with either lumps or cysts, rather than that of a very young child (although there always remains the possibility). It is believed that any such development would also be more likely where there is a hereditary condition (breast cancer in the family [more so if at childhood age]), than for any other reason.

Cancer genes (type BRCA1 and BRCA2) can be created by “mutations” that occur in perfectly healthy cells which are then passed on through one generation to another; although, they may on occasions even skip a generation or two before being triggered; usually by different biological or environmental factors (these factors are still being studied for conclusive evidence).

However, this is not always the case, as an even smaller percentage of children may show no such cancer genes in the body at the time of diagnosis or during treatment. Also, an adolescent or teenager does not have to have formed breasts for breast cancer to strike; although, in most cases where it has been diagnosed, the children are in fact going through some unusual “drastic” hormonal change, or puberty.

When breast cancer does occur in children, it is usually the infiltrating ductal carcinoma type which is believed to be caused by a combination of both the unusually drastic hormonal changes, together with the normal fast cell growth which happens in a child’s body. Infiltrating ductal cancer is caused when mutated cells begin to cluster in a mammary duct before relocating to nearby breast tissue.

Drastic hormonal changes are believed to cause the development of ductal lumps and proximal scar tissue (a lumpy presence may be discovered when a child starts to scratch, due to an itching caused by these changes [a good indication of the presence of breast cancer]). However, if breast cancer is found to be present in a child, there is an 80% + chance of it being successfully treated.

Precautions for lowering the risks of child breast cancer developing, include: a healthy diet, plenty of healthy exercise activity, and no nicotine intake (smoking). Also, for the moment there are no actual recommendations for child “self-examinations,” such as those carried-out by adult women. Also diagnosis procedures such as mammograms, are not advisable for young children, and only biopsies are usually used for diagnosis.

by Philip Albert Edmonds-Hunt

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