Breast Cancer in Women Younger than 45
- Casey DeSantis, 41, the wife of Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
- Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, and about 9% of cases are diagnosed in women younger than 45.
- The American Cancer Society recommends that women ages 40 to 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening — such as a mammogram — if they wish to do so. But women ages 45 to 54 should definitely get a mammogram every year.
“I am saddened to report that Florida’s esteemed First Lady and my beloved wife has been diagnosed with breast cancer,” Gov. DeSantis said in a prepared statement.Read More
“As the mother of three young children, Casey is the centerpiece of our family and has made an impact on the lives of countless Floridians through her initiatives as First Lady. As she faces the most difficult test of her life, she will have not only have my unwavering support but the support of our entire family, as well as the prayers and well wishes from Floridians across our state. Casey is a true fighter, and she will never, never, never give up,” Gov. DeSantis added.
Outpour of Support
Within minutes of the news breaking, an outpour of support began to flood in from political figures across Florida, including the state’s attorney general.
Wilton Simpson, a state senator from Florida’s 10th District, tweeted that the entire Florida Senate family is praying for Casey, Ron and the couple’s three children.
The prayers of the entire Senate family are with our wonderful First Lady Casey DeSantis, Governor DeSantis and their entire family as they face this serious health challenge. pic.twitter.com/V7fbvFen22
— Wilton Simpson (@WiltonSimpson) October 4, 2021
Fellow state Sen. Annette Taddeo, of Florida’s 40th District, shared her best wishes with Casey, saying, “All of Florida is rooting for you.”
— Annette Taddeo (She/Her/Ella) (@Annette_Taddeo) October 4, 2021
Florida’s attorney general, Ashley Moody, also took to Twitter to express her support for the First Lady DeSantis.
.@FLCaseyDeSantis you are in our prayers and we are in your corner.
We know with your strength and spirit you will win this fight. Florida loves you and the entire First Family.https://t.co/uAYoIAdVEi
— AG Ashley Moody (@AGAshleyMoody) October 4, 2021
Breast Cancer in Women Younger than 45
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.)
The CDC reports that breast cancer mostly occurs among older women, but it’s possible for women under the age of 45 — like Casey DeSantis — to be diagnosed with this type of cancer. About 9% of all new breast cancer cases in the U.S. are found in women younger than 45.
But in some ways, a diagnosis for a younger woman can often be even more devastating, Dr. Ann Partridge, an oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, tells SurvivorNet in a previous interview. This is because the cancer is likely to be a more aggressive form of the disease and also at an advanced stage, as screening for younger women is not standard. As previously mentioned, the stage and form of Casey’s breast cancer has not been made public.
The Importance of Getting a Mammogram
The American Cancer Society recommends that women ages 40 to 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening — such as a mammogram — if they wish to do so. But women ages 45 to 54 should definitely get a mammogram every year.
Dr. Connie Lehman, a director of the breast imaging clinic at Mass General Hospital in Boston, tells SurvivorNet in a previous interview that it’s very important for women to get a mammogram every year, especially if you haven’t yet gone through menopause.
“We know that cancers grow more rapidly in our younger patients, and having that annual mammogram can be life-saving,” Lehman says. “After menopause, it may be perfectly acceptable to reduce that frequency to every two years.”