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Controversy and confusion have always been a part of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment -- and I'm learning all about that on a personal level since my own diagnosis. But please don't let the sea of opinions cloud your own judgment, and get yourself screened. Don't think because it's not in your family you don't need to be concerned. 5 to 10% of women diagnosed with breast cancer had the disease in their family. So 90 to 95 % were like me -- with no family history.
I understand the messages being sent are muddled and even contradictory -- Especially when it comes to young women. What's "young"? An article in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) addressed the rise in younger women being diagnosed with breast cancer -- defining younger women as those aged from 25 to 39 years. I've been researching the facts on all of this since my March 27 diagnosis as if my life depended on it, because.....Well, because it does. But please know that yours does too-- and the life of your sisters, mothers, daughters and friends does too. So keep these facts in mind when you're trying to make decisions about your own health -- I've tried to streamline the research highlights that every young woman should know. Take a look and share with your family and your girlfriends -- Tell them Sandra Lee wants them to know!
At a time when there is progress being made overall against cancer, there is a rise in the number of young women diagnosed with advanced, incurable breast cancer.
Breast cancer is generally more aggressive in younger women, --women in this age group are 40% more likely to die of their disease than postmenopausal women.
Early testing saves lives-- Even though more women under 50 are being diagnosed with breast cancer than in the past, the rate at which these women die from the disease has declined by 40% since the beginning of the 1990s:
 In the early 1990s, 9 per 100,000 younger women died from breast cancer
 By 2010, five per 100,000 younger women died from the disease
 In 1995, approximately 7,700 women under the age of 50 were diagnosed with breast cancer. By 2010, the number had risen by 11% (more than 10,000 cases). Breast cancer incidence among females of all ages grew by 18% during the same period.
The number of women in this age range diagnosed with advanced disease rose from about 250 a year in 1976 to about 850 a year in 2009.
The largest increases were in the youngest women, from ages 25 to 34. There were also slight increases in metastatic diagnoses among women ages 40 to 54, but no increase in older women.
The number of American women ages 25 to 39 diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer — which has already spread to other organs by the time it's found — rose about 3.6% a year from 2000 to 2009, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The trend began in the 1970s, although the most rapid increases occurred in about the last decade.
With the increases in mortality if screening is postponed -- and the lives saved, including, I pray, my own by early detection -- the course of action seems clear to me, as it was for so many of you who have been kind enough to share your own stories with me. They inspire me -- and they give me fear for young women who don't get tested - so whose lives are at risk. I am blessed to have a platform to spread a message of hope - through knowing the facts and taking action -- but you now have that platform too...I am going to post the stories you've sent me through Facebook and
 I want every woman - no matter how young -- to see this clearly for themselves by reading about all of your battles and victories over this disease.
Again, THANK YOU for all of your words of support-- I don't only read them, I feel their strength carrying me through these tough days...and I love you for that!