Information & Support
Exploring the impact of male breast and hereditary cancer on young adults
Male Breast Cancer & Young Adults
Breast cancer is often associated with older women or men, but it can also affect young adults. While rare in this age group, early detection is crucial. Young adults should know their risk factors, including genetics, family history, and lifestyle choices.
Regular breast self-exams and clinical breast exams are essential for early detection. Mammograms may not be recommended for those under 40, but imaging techniques like ultrasound or MRI can be used when necessary. Young adults facing breast cancer often experience unique challenges, including fertility concerns and emotional impacts. Support groups and medical guidance tailored to their needs are essential for their well-being.
The first step is to know if your family has a genetic mutation. If there is a family history of any cancer diagnosis, you can speak with your parents to learn if anyone in your family has already tested for a genetic mutation. If so, have they tested positive (and what mutations) or negative? If no one in the family has tested and you’re aware of a direct family cancer diagnosis, the next best step would be to speak with your doctor and find and contact a local genetic counselor.
As a young adult, it’s important to learn of your risks for prevention and early detection. Please see our prevention tab for additional information. To know if you carry a genetic mutation could save your life!
The recommended age for genetic testing can be as early as 18 years of age; however, it is currently recommended for women to test around 25 years of age and for men, mid 30’s to 40.. The decision to test is a very personal one and should be given a great deal of consideration while meeting with a genetic counselor for a better understanding.
With this information you may be eligible for earlier screenings for breast (women and men), prostate, ovarian, melanoma, pancreatic and more. This knowledge provides you with the power to take control of your own health and make better lifestyle choices.
There is also additional support available for young adults who learn that they carry a genetic mutation. We work with several organizations and focus groups, especially the Young Leadership Council at Basser Center Penn Medicine and FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered) who can help provide additional information and support.
Know your risks, learn about your family health, perform self breast exams (female and male), speak with your family physician and/or gynecologist, meet with a genetic counselor if appropriate, make healthy lifestyle choices. It’s never too early to learn, it just might save your life.