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  • Writer's pictureSurviving Breast Cancer

Adolescents and Young Adults (AYA) with Breast Cancer

Almost 90,000 “young people,” defined as anyone aged 15-39, are diagnosed with cancer each year in the United States according to the American Cancer Society, accounting for about 5 percent of all cancer diagnoses. And among the 25- to 39-year-olds considered “young people,” breast cancer and thyroid cancer are the most common. (NCI’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program Cancer Stat Facts)

So why are there so many AYA cancer diagnoses, yet so little focus on this group as compared to childhood or adult cancers? Young people find themselves in an “in-between” group—there is no specific medical home or doctors specializing in treating the AYA population, a recent study by the National Cancer Institute found, and are often in transition periods in their life without consistent relationships with medical providers. Furthermore, “AYAs have lower enrollment in clinical trials compared with people treated for cancer in childhood or older adulthood,” said Emily Tonorezos, M.D., M.P.H., director of NCI’s Office of Cancer Survivorship.

Typically, in the U.S., breast cancer screenings do not begin until the age of 40. In other countries, it can be as high as 50 or even 55. With no effective breast cancer screening tool yet for women under 40, according to, most young adults find a lump or change in their breast themselves. Routine breast self-exams help you become familiar with how your breasts look and feel so you can be cognizant of any changes that may occur.

A cancer diagnosis at any age is isolating and scary, but as the most underserved community by age, it can be especially so for those in the AYA population who receive a diagnosis. Many are told time and time again that they are wrong and too young for what they are feeling in their body to be cancer. Always remember that the best advocate for yourself and your health, is you. Demand the testing, scans and answers to what you feel going on in your body.

As Adolescents and Young Adults (AYA) Cancer Awareness Week 2021 draws to a close, we've highlighted some resources below to help you learn about breast cancer in the AYA community.


Although breast cancer in young adults is rare, more than 250,000 living in the United States today were diagnosed under age 40. In young adults, breast cancer tends to be diagnosed in its later stages and tends to be more aggressive. Read More.


Though more common in older adults than younger women, more than 13,000 women ages 40 or under will be diagnosed this year. What are the unique challenges young women with breast cancer face? Read More.


If you’re under age 40, which is when it’s recommended that women begin having screening mammograms, you may think you are too young to get breast cancer—but that’s not true. While breast cancer in younger women is rare, it is the most common cancer among women ages 15 to 39. Read More.


Studies found that a breast self-exam (BSE) can be an important way to find cancer in young women, especially young woman with a higher-than-average risk of developing breast cancer. The results offer another point of view in the ongoing discussion about the role of BSE in breast cancer screening. Read More.

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Meditation Mondays:

Chakra Chanting with Gloria

Mondays at 10:00 a.m. ET 


Thursday Night Thrivers:

All Stages Support Group

Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. ET



Thursday Night Thrivers:

Metastatic Breast Cancer Support Group

First and third Thursdays

of the month at 7:00 p.m. ET



Thursday Night Thrivers:

Inflammatory Breast Cancer Support Group

Second Thursday

of the month at 7:00 p.m. ET


The Caregiver Huddle

Third Tuesday

of the month at 7:00 p.m. ET


Tuesday Night Thrivers

Después de un Diagnóstico:

Grupo de Apoyo en Español

2do y Cuarto Martes de cada mes 

7:00 p.m. ET


Encourage and Empower

For Newly Diagnosed

September 10, 11:00 a.m. ET


Breast Cancer Book Club

The first Sunday of the month



June 14,  11:30 a.m. ET


Restorative Yoga:

Unearthing Opportunities

June 17 ,  5:30 p.m. ET


The Sun's Embrace: A Summer Solstice Meditation

June 21,  11:00 a.m. ET


Qi Gong

June 25,  11:30 a.m. ET


Art Therapy

July 1, 6:00 p.m. ET


Forest Bathing

July 2,  6:00 p.m. ET


Yoga Fitness with Chair Assist

July 9, 11:30 a.m. ET


Yoga Stretching for DIEP flap

July 9,  6:00 p.m. ET


Reflect & Recharge

Expressive Writing

July 22,  6:00 p.m. ET


Más eventos en español


Upcoming Events


Surviving Breast Cancer provides breast cancer support, events, and webinars at no cost to you! Whether you are looking to gain more knowledge on a particular topic or meet up with other breast cancer survivors, we have something for everyone. 


Our standing appointment on Thursdays is for all stages. We also host specific breakout groups once a month for specific stages and subtypes such as Metastatic breast cancer, and Inflammatory Breast Cancer, etc. 


The Book Club meets the first Sunday of every month at 11 am ET. You are welcome to join each month or pick and choose your month based on your availability and the book we are reading. 


Through art, writing, and other creative modalities, we hold the power to manage our stress, make sense of our now, and relax into moments of stillness. 


Free, monthly, online classes in restorative yoga, yoga for breast cancer, and Zumba. 


Después de un Diagnóstico

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