A new CNN report reveals a troubling trend in cases of breast cancer among young women, as two girls, just 11 and 13, are battling the disease.
While it is very rare to get breast cancer at such a young age, the numbers of younger women with the disease is on the rise, and experts aren't sure what the reason is.
Only about 7% of breast cancer cases occur before age 40, according to the report. Dr. Marissa Weiss, of breastcancer.org, tells CNN that environmental factors like pollutants may play a role in forming abnormalities in the breast -- as does obesity. "When it comes to breast cancer risks, the extra fat in obesity leads to extra estrogen production, which can lead to extra breast cell growth, including abnormal breast cell growths."
Weiss advocates for awareness and education for all women, beginning as early as 8 years old: "It's important to start conversations about breast health early ( from ages 8-18). That's when they're constructing their breast tissue. That's when what they eat, drink, medicines they take and personal products they use, how they use their body becomes the building blocks in the construction project as they lay down the foundation of their future breast health."
Read about the tweens' cases and get their full story here.