Breast Cancer in Younger Women

Fertility Preservation, Genetic Counseling, Psycho-Social Counseling and More

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Breast cancer diagnosis and treatment are difficult for people of all ages. However, if you are 45 or younger, you may experience age-related physical, social, and psychological issues. Our team of experts addresses concerns specific to the premenopausal years, including fertility and sexuality, inherited genetic mutations, family and social issues, physical changes that can impact self-confidence, and more. We are specially trained to pay attention to aspects of breast cancer treatment unique to this stage of your life.

Whole Person Support for People Under 45 with Breast Cancer

Because younger women are less likely to develop breast cancer, it is common to feel isolated and alone when going through your treatment. Our experts offer a variety of services and approaches to help.

Genetic Testing and Counseling
Genetic testing is recommended for all people under the age of 45 diagnosed with breast cancer to ensure the condition is not inherited. We offer testing right in our cancer centers on the first day you come to our clinics. That's convenient, but it's also important because you get the results without delay. Getting those results quickly allows us to recommend the most appropriate treatment for your type of cancer as quickly as possible.

Fertility Preservation
If family planning is in your future, it’s important to have conversations about how to preserve your childbearing potential before treatment starts. Cancer treatment, such as hormone-blocking therapies, can delay having children for up to five years. Chemotherapy may affect the quality of your eggs, which can impact the success of pregnancy. Our fertility specialists meet with you to discuss your options, including harvesting eggs before treatment to ensure they are of the highest quality and using in vitro fertilization (IVF) when the time is right.

Sexual Health
Breast cancer treatment can lead to permanent menopause at an early age, and that can result in menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and loss of libido. A mastectomy can impact how you feel about your body, which can cause some women to shy away from intimacy with their partners. Our psychologists understand how these changes can affect you emotionally and psychologically. We help you and your partner understand how breast cancer has changed you and your body and work to enhance your overall sexual health.

Psychosocial Counseling for You and Your Family
Our mental health specialists help you discuss your diagnosis with your loved ones. This includes your children as well as their teachers. Our support groups provide opportunities for you to meet others going through the breast cancer journey.

Duke Breast Cancer Specialists
Health care providers from many specialties work together to ensure you get the best possible care and treatment for your breast cancer. Learn who is part of your team and the different ways we contribute to your care.

Managing the Physical Effects of Breast Cancer

Breast Reconstruction
Breast reconstruction surgery is a personal choice for women who undergo surgery as part of their breast cancer treatment. If you choose to pursue breast reconstruction, there are many options for you to consider, including whether you want immediate reconstruction or want to delay the procedure. In addition, our experts offer different techniques, including the use of autologous (your own) tissue, to rebuild your breasts. 

Onsite Cancer Center Boutiques
Our boutiques offer the latest trends in wigs, hats, caps, scarves, self-image products, and post-surgical garments.

Our Locations

Choosing a cancer center near your home minimizes the impact your treatment has on your daily activities and your quality of life. Screening, diagnostic imaging, testing, and breast cancer treatments are available at Duke Health locations throughout the Triangle.

Additional Services
We offer nutrition counseling and physical therapy to help you recover, manage stress, regain your strength, and prevent and manage lymphedema. Acupuncture and massage are also available at select Duke Health locations.

Survivorship Support and Specialists
Being a cancer survivor starts the moment you are diagnosed and continues long after your cancer treatment ends. We remain your partner during the entire journey. Our cancer survivor specialists create personalized plans to identify and treat the long-term effects of treatment. These plans also recommend scheduled screening regimens to watch for the possible return of breast cancer and the development of other cancers as you age.

Best Cancer Hospital in North Carolina

Where you receive your cancer care is important. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why our cancer program is nationally ranked, and the highest-ranked program in North Carolina, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2023–2024.

This page was medically reviewed on 04/27/2022 by