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Why Age 40 Shouldn’t Be the Minimum

As a young Black woman, I can’t help but be aware of the fact that breast cancer is becoming increasingly prevalent among women of my age. The American Cancer Society currently recommends that women begin getting mammograms at the age of 40, but in my opinion, this should not be the limit. Black and Latina women are being diagnosed with the disease at younger and younger ages, and it is crucial that we understand the importance of early and accurate diagnosis. Furthermore, our young girls should understand the basics of breast health, and it should be accessible for anyone, regardless of their age.

Public figures such as Lupe Fiasco, Gabrielle Union, and Selena Gomez have all been diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 40. This shows that the disease can affect anyone, regardless of age or status, and that it is of the utmost importance to be aware of one’s own body. Self-exams should become a part of the regular routine, and it should not be considered uncomfortable to talk about breast health or to feel one’s own breasts.

Early and accurate diagnosis of breast cancer is key, and it is especially pertinent in today’s world. The toxins in our food contribute greatly to the onset of the disease, and with the prevalence of fast food restaurants in the ghettos of America, it is more important than ever to make screenings available to those who are younger than 40. In my opinion, breast health should be taught in schools, and there should not be an age limit on getting a mammogram.

I was misdiagnosed for two years, and was only diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer at the age of 33. Had I waited until I was 40, I might not be here today. This is why I feel so strongly about making breast health education accessible to all, especially to young women of color. We need to understand that age 40 should not be the limit, and that we should be aware of our own bodies and the risks that come with this disease. Early detection and prevention can be the difference between life and death.


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