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Is Breast Cancer a Threat in the Teen Years?

My 13-year-old daughter's doctor said she should learn to give herself breast exams. Is breast cancer really a threat for a teenager?
- Dixie

Although breast cancer in teens is extremely rare, it's a good idea for girls to learn how to perform a breast self-examination (BSE) so they can get used to how their bodies feel normally. After learning what is normal for them, teens can then recognize changes in their breasts.

Doctors recommend doing a monthly BSE at the same time each month (like a few days after a girl's period ends, when breasts are less tender). Some kinds of lumps that teenage girls may feel are normal, but a doctor should check out any lump to be sure.

If your daughter notices any changes or has any questions, she should talk to her doctor.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin. MD
Date reviewed: April 2012