Cancer Affects Young Women, Too!

Author: Shannon Miller

While none of us like to go get poked and prodded in embarrassing and uncomfortable positions, I can tell you that going through what I am now and what so many women are go through, you want to do everything you can to prevent cancer (especially in the case of cervical cancer which, if caught early is almost 100% curable!) And, if not preventable, you certainly want to catch it as early as possible. When we think of cancer, many times we think of the “older” population. (I use that term loosely as I creep toward that category myself.) Many screenings like a mammogram or a colonoscopy don’t start until you pass age 40 or even age 50, depending on your risk factors and family history. Knowing exactly when to get a particular screening or exam can be a little trying at times. For example, even experts don’t agree on the exact age to start your mammogram. However, the American Cancer Society, advises women with an average risk to begin mammograms at age 40. If you would like to learn more about what general screenings and tests are important to your health check out St. Vincent’s HealthCare, My Checkups. It’s important to speak with your physician about your personal health risks but it can be helpful to bring a list with you to the doctor’s office. I was not always the best at going to the doctor. Honestly, if it wasn’t broken or interfering with my training then I didn’t see the point. Of course when we’re young we feel invincible. We don’t think much about preventative healthcare. It wasn’t until my mid twenty’s and focusing on my passion for health and fitness that I realized how important these exams are to our overall health. Even if you aren’t having ay issues, you’ll be able to create a baseline that can be followed over the years by your physician. It is critical that young women learn to take a proactive role in their health. Many times there are absolutely no symptoms to some issues that may arise. My cancer in particular had no symptoms. Even the baseball-sized tumor sitting on my ovary had not caused any pain, discomfort or other symptoms!


If you’re in your 20’s or early 30’s and you’ve gotten side-tracked by life, please make it a point to talk to your personal physician (or find one if you haven’t done so).

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