By: liz tufts
There is a set back in the fight against breast cancer. More young women are getting advanced, deadly forms of cancer.
When Sue Ellen Jimenez of Cranston found a lump back in 2011, she admits she didn't take it very seriously. "You just think you have cystic breasts or the lump with just go away, " says Jimenez.
But after a year, that lump got bigger. At the age of just 31, she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. Sue Ellen didn't have a family history of it. "I never thought in a million years id be sitting here talking about this, " says Jimenez.
"I was diagnosed in 2009 at 33 years old." Neither did Mandy Zito of Exeter. She's been cancer free for four years, but continues to work at the Gloria Gemma Foundation in Pawtucket. She says she's noticed a huge difference of who's walking through the doors. "I've definitely seen a rise in younger women, " says Zito.
So many in fact, they put together a calendarhHighlighting the epidemic here in Rhode Island. Everyone under the age of 40. One of the youngest survivors just 22 years old. "You're not getting screening at this age, you are relying on self breast exams, " says Zito.
Researchers and doctors aren't exactly sure why so many younger women are being diagnosed, but Mandy has an idea. "Women are getting their periods younger and are having children later so they are getting a hormonal surge," adds Zito
Whatever the reason, Mandy and Sue Ellen both agree self breast exams save lives. They just hope more women take their lump seriously.