Community Shares: How Old Were You When You Were Diagnosed?

A breast cancer diagnosis can affect anyone. It may happen at any age, regardless of race, class, ability, or family history. It can feel overwhelming and devastating to first hear the news, “You have breast cancer.” This is as true at 70 as it is at 20.

To learn more about when our community members received the news that life had changed, we turned to followers of our Facebook page. We asked you to tell us: “At what age were you diagnosed with the most recent recurrence or diagnosis of breast cancer?”

Here is how the answers measured up.

Diagnosis age

There were 103 people who gave a numerical age response to the question. These responses spanned a wide spectrum, from as young as 19 to the esteemed age of 81. Here are the number of responses grouped into ranges for age at diagnosis:*

  • Under 20 – 1 person
  • 21-30 – 1 person
  • 31-40 – 18 people
  • 41-50 – 31 people
  • 51-60 – 28 people
  • 61-70 – 22 people
  • 71-80 – 1 person
  • Over 80 – 1 person

“I am the youngest in the history of my state to have been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer at 19. I was 2 months shy of being 20.”

Metastasized to other areas

Many of you have received a metastatic diagnosis. This means the original breast cancer cells have spread or moved to other parts of the body. For some, this was upon the first diagnosis. For others, the cancer returned at a later date.

  • “39 was when I was diagnosed and ended up with a hip replacement because of it! Also found out it metastasized to my bones.”
  • “61, metastatic stage 4 breast cancer, metastasized to my scalp! Still here 11/2 years later!”
  • “In 2016 I was diagnosed with stage 4 breast to bone cancer. In Dec. 2020, bone to lumbar spine, and just completed radiation. Soon to have a brain scan. Unknown about that yet. Another journey begins.”
  • “44 was the original breast cancer diagnosis. At 48 it metastasized to my left hip.”
  • “63 with my breast cancer and 68 with my bone cancer.”
  • “59, stage 4 metastatic breast cancer in my femur.”
  • “Age 40, in 2017, stage 4 de novo with metastasis to the liver.”

Treatments

Many of you shared details about the different treatments you are using to manage a breast cancer or metastatic breast cancer (MBC) diagnosis. These ranged from daily drug therapies to surgical procedures, or a combination of the 2.

  • “I had a bilateral mastectomy a few months ago and am going through reconstruction.”
  • “Last year I went through mastectomy and chemo during the middle of the pandemic.”
  • “I still have a lot of side effects from the chemo and surgeries.”
  • “I was 40 and stage 4 out of the gate. I’ve been stable on Ibrance since 2018.”
  • “49 when I got my stage 4 metastatic diagnosis. I’ve been in treatment now for a little over a year. Ibrance and letrozole and my monthly injections are knocking my tumor marker down.”
  • “49, stage 1, and no lymph involvement. I did chemotherapy first and chose a double mastectomy. I take Anastrozole and Zoladex.”

Finding gratitude

Even with the challenges and life changes breast cancer or MBC brings, many of you shared how you continue to be grateful and find joy. There is the love of family and friends. You find hope in the many advancements being made with diagnosing and treating breast cancer. You continue living and enjoying life to the fullest.

  • “Stage 1 IDC at 67, and I have a marvelous support team from family, friends, doctors, and nurses.”
  • “Thankfully, there are new and promising treatments happening, so please, never lose hope!”
  • “I’m living with it and finding joy, and I feel great, so that makes me thankful.”
  • “Thankful for a 3-D mammogram.”

Thank you to everyone who shared about their breast cancer or MBC diagnosis. We appreciate your willingness to open your lives to the community. It is a privilege to be part of your experience.

*If multiple ages were given, such as age at first diagnosis and age at later recurrences, for the purpose of this number chart only the earliest age was tallied.

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