While they're at a lower risk, nearly 1,500 women under 40 are diagnosed with cancer every year

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in Canadian women.

While many of us think about breast cancer as a disease of older women, around 1,500 cases (7%) of breast cancers diagnosed each year are in women aged 40 and younger.

The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation recently announced new investments in research targeting breast cancer in women in this age bracket. Breast cancer in women 40 and younger tends to be more advanced at the time of diagnosis and also more aggressive and resistant to treatment.

Younger women are not eligible for provincial breast cancer screening mammography. However, the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation has these tips.

Reduce Your Risk for Breast Cancer

Reduce Your Risk by Living Well: Being a healthier body weight, eating a more balanced diet, getting regular physical activity, limiting your alcohol consumption and quitting smoking – you can help reduce your risk of breast cancer. Here are some quick and easy tips to stay healthy.

Talk to Your Health Care Provider about Your Personal Risk: If you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, family members with a genetic mutation such as BRCA1 or BRCA2, or a personal history of cancer speak to a health care provider about your breast cancer risk and your options for breast cancer screening.

Be Breast Aware: Know how your breasts normally look and feel. There’s no right way to check your breasts. Find a way that is comfortable for you. If you find any breast changes, talk to a health-care provider.

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.