Duval County

UF Health to host free virtual forum Thursday to inform public about breast health

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — 9% of all new of breast cancer cases in the United States are found in women younger than 45 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Earlier this month, Action News Jax told you when Gov. Ron DeSantis shared that his wife, Casey DeSantis, had been diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 41.

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Action News Jax Courtney Cole spoke to Dr. Shahla Masood, the Medical Director of the University of Florida Health Breast Center, about why some women are getting diagnosed with breast cancer at a younger age.

“I’ll tell you one thing is for sure ... I’m sure as hell not giving up!,” said Florida’s first lady, Casey DeSantis.

She was met with applause, love and support over the weekend when she made her first public appearance since her breast cancer diagnosis was announced earlier this month.

Casey DeSantis said she has only begun to fight the battle against breast cancer.

As a 41-year-old and mother of three young children, many were surprised to learn of her diagnosis.

According to Masood, one of the reasons women develop breast cancer earlier is because of a prolonged exposure to estrogen.

“As we postpone having a child early on in our life, the more the body is going to be exposed to that uninterrupted hormone influx,” Masood explained.

Masood is also the Chairperson of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UF Health.

She told Cole the other component is the presence of the breast cancer gene.

“I must emphasize that the majority of the breast cancer is developed with no reason at all,” Masood said.

According to the CDC, about one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.

Cole asked Masood how soon young women should consider getting a mammogram.

“Well, that’s a very interesting question and there are multiple different opinions about that. It really depends on the risk factors and the family history of the patient,” said Masood.

She continued by saying that high-risk patients should start mammography 10 years before their closest family member was diagnosed. (i.e. If you mother was diagnosed at 45, you should start getting a mammogram at the age of 35.)

Most importantly, she wants women to know that breast cancer does not have to be a death sentence.

If you’re looking for more information about breast cancer, or if you have more specific questions, UF Health is hosting a “What Everyone Should Know about Breast Health” forum this Thursday, Oct. 21st.

It’s free, it’s virtual and it’s open to the public.

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There will be six qualified, passionate physicians ready to help and answer your questions.

You can call 904-244-6069 and ask for Karen, or click here to RSVP.