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Wednesday, July 14, 2010 rjune42, Community Member, asks

Q: Can a 16 year old get breast cancer?

Three weeks ago I discovered a big pinkish lump in my right breast, as time passes it becomes smaller. But it doesn't go away. I'm really afraid, I don't even have insurance and my mom still doesn't know. Does this mean I have cancer? Whats going to happen to me? (Two people died in my family from breast cancer) help?

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Answers (2)
PJ Hamel, Health Guide
7/15/10 5:18am

Hi - It's good that you recognize that you might be at increased risk for breast cancer, due to your family history. If your two relatives were close - aunt, grandmother, or sister - then yes, you're at increased risk. If they were cousins, great aunts, etc., then your risk isn't appreciably increased.


At your age, your risk of having breast cancer is about 1 in 1 million; please read our message to teens for more information. Since the lump changes in size, it's most likely related to your menstrual cycle, and the fact that you're still in puberty; our guide to breast development should tell you all you need to know about that.


Bottom line: mention this to your doctor or school nurse next time you have a physical. But unless the lump stops changing size, and only grows larger; or certainly if it gets large quickly, in which case it might be an infection, there's probably nothing to worry about. Good luck - PJH

nikki11220, Community Member
12/ 5/10 11:43pm

hi, I have a lump underneath my nipple. You cant see it but you can feel it. Its hard, it doesnt move, and sometimes it hurts. should I be concerned, I am only 16. Ive also developed a lump on my leg and my glands are all swollen and I feel faint.

Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
12/ 6/10 5:13am

Your swollen glands and faint feeling might be from some sort of virus going around.  If so, you will feel better within a week or ten days.  Are you drinking enough fluids and eating a well-balanced diet to prevent faintness?  When girls' breasts begin to develop, there is a hard lump called a breast bud right under the nipple.  If you are starting puberty late, that might be what you are feeling.  If you have already gone through puberty, this lump qualifies as a breast change.  Any breast change that lasts longer than a month needs to be checked out by a doctor.  If you can't remember any bumps or bruises that might account for the leg lump, the doctor needs to look at that too.  It is highly unlikely that these changes as breast cancer which is extremely rare in teenagers; however, there may be some other underlying problem that needs a doctor's treatment.  Probably it will turn out that these problems are unrelated and not serious, but you don't want to ignore them.  Let an adult know who can help you evaluate whether you need to see a doctor right away or whether it's OK to wait a week or two to see if they go away on their own.

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By rjune42, Community Member— Last Modified: 01/04/14, First Published: 07/14/10