This three-year-old is probably the youngest breast cancer survivor in Asia
Her mother found a red, sticky substance on her clothes.
When you think of breast cancer, you often think about your own, or even your mum’s health. You don’t automatically think that it can affect children. But that’s the thing about cancer – it doesn’t take age into consideration.
Anyone of any age can be afflicted with breast cancer, and though it’s very rare among children and even young women, it is not impossible.
Three-year-old child survives breast cancer
Recently, a three year old girl in China became what is possibly Asia’s youngest breast cancer survivor.
Yan Yan, hailing from Shandong in China, was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year. Her mother found red, sticky substances on her top, in March. The discharge continued for a few weeks and to her mother’s horror, Yan Yan had developed a lump on the left side of her chest.
Fearing the worst, her mother took Yan Yan to the hospital for a check up. According to news reports, doctors told the woman to hold off the dietary supplements as the toddler was displaying signs of early sexual maturation.
But Yan Yan was not on any supplements.
To get a second opinion, Yan Yan’s mother took her daughter to Jiangsu People’s Hospital. Here, doctors found a mass in Yan Yan’s left breast as well as a swollen lymph node in her armpit.
They ran a biopsy of the mass, which found that the toddler was suffering from secretory breast carcinoma, which is a rare and slow-growing cancer.
Consulting experts from Harvard Medical School, breast cancer specialist Tang Jin Hai removed the tumour while preserving the mammary glands. They say the girl will make a full recovery.
What is Secretory Breast Carcinoma (SBC)?
Secretory breast carcinoma is a type of cancer that can grow in either male or female as well as children. The cancer is extremely rare and only accounts for about one percent of all breast cancers. But in fact, it was formerly known as juvenile breast carcinoma as it was first recognised in children and adolescents.
However, over the last several decades, the cancer was reported in people of all ages. As is most breast cancers, SBC is more commonly found in women and girls.
What are the symptoms of SBC?
Those with SBC night notice:
- A painless but firm lump in the breast.
- Discharge coming out from the nipple, or breast bleeding.
- Breast ulceration (inflamed ulcer on the breast)
- Enlarged male breasts.
This is not the first time a child has been diagnosed with breast cancer and lived to tell the tale. In 2011, Aleisha Hunter, from Toronto, Canada, needed a mastectomy after doctors discovered the cause of a lump which appeared on her chest in December 2008 when she was two. The size of the lump was just like a tiny pea, her mother said.
Last year, it was reported that, Chrissy Turner from Utah, America, was also diagnosed with secretory breast carcinoma at the age of 8.