As a second-generation lead physician at Salerno Medical Associates, Dr. Alexander Salerno strives to improve health outcomes in at-risk communities. Dr. Alexander Salerno also pursues this goal in his role as head of the Urban Healthcare Initiative Program (UHIP), which distributes educational materials on topics such as breast cancer risk.
For women under the age of 50, breast cancer is becoming an increasingly serious risk. Diagnosis rates are increasing among women between the ages of 25 and 39, while diagnoses of women under 50 have reached record levels. Genetic predisposition plays a contributing role for many women, particularly those whose close family members developed breast cancer at a young age. Personal history, including radiation therapy to the chest or a history of breast health issues, may also contribute to a young woman’s increased risk.
Some experts also attribute this shift in age of diagnosis to historic differences in hormonal levels. Studies have shown that birth control use may potentially increase one’s risk of developing breast cancer, and observations suggest that other hormone use could have a similar effect. Toxins in the environment and nutritional deficiencies could be similarly risky, particularly if a young woman has experienced exposure to high levels of parabens or cigarette smoke.