Cancer is an old person’s diagnosis \u2014 or we often assume it is.\nNearly 10,500 cases of invasive breast cancer are diagnosed each year\u2014and 1,000 women younger than 40 will die from their cancer every year.\nWhen it does happen, it’s shocking and devastating. Young women with breast cancer often face unique challenges and require a different kind of support than older women.\nRisk Factors and Detection for Breast Cancer in Young Women\nAlthough cancer in young women is rare, some factors seem to raise the risk of a diagnosis. Some risk factors include:\n\nA history of close family relatives who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.\nPrevious radiation therapy\nInherited genetic mutation, often in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene\n\nEarly detection is important for any cancer, but because the disease isn’t expected at a young age, it may be overlooked. Women may ignore or not look for a lump. Self-breast awareness is the best way to find any changes in your body.\nFrom differences in treatment options to personal situations, dealing with cancer in your 30s or even 20s can be different than at an older age.\nFertility After Breast Cancer\nMany young women fear chemotherapy and other cancer treatments will affect their ability to become pregnant in the future.\nDiscuss fertility in detail with your doctor. Chemotherapy can induce menopause, but you have a range of fertility preservation options that may still allow you to start a family after treatment.\nSex and Dating After Cancer\nWhether you’re married or single, having cancer dampens your sex life and can stall your dating life. It’s common to lose interest in sex or to have painful intercourse because of vaginal dryness or other problems caused by treatments. After a mastectomy, women often struggle with body image issues, which affects their feelings about sexuality.\nThese challenges are common for women of any age undergoing breast cancer treatment, but for young women, they can feel especially acute. This is a good time to bond with friends and remain open to dating if you’re single.\nNo matter your status, there will be different relationship challenges because of your diagnosis. Give it time and seek the support you need to cope with the emotional stress.\nRELATED:\u00a0Preparing for Hair Loss During Cancer Treatment\nWork\nIn your 20s and 30s, you’re starting and growing your career. Going through treatment doesn’t have to be the end of your career\u2014many patients are able to work through their treatment.\nFamily\nYou may have young children still at home that require a lot of your time and energy. You have to navigate how to talk to your kids about your illness, and you and your spouse may need to redefine roles at home. It’s okay to ask for help from friends, family, and neighbors as you go through treatments.\nCoping with Breast Cancer at a Young Age\nHaving breast cancer at a young age can feel lonely. You share some of the same struggles as other women going through the same illness, but you have your own unique challenges.\nIt also can be tough to make regular conversation at the kids’ soccer games or school events, as other parents have trouble empathizing with what you’re going through. Counseling and support groups, particularly groups aimed at younger cancer patients and survivors, can help you through the difficult times.