Recently, former Miss Venezuela Eva Ekvall died after a battle with breast cancer. She was 28 years old.
Breast awareness is not something that can be put off until we're 50, as many of us previously assumed. This is something 31-year-old Sali Stevanja is now all-too aware of.
At the age of 27, Sali Stevanja, a Sydney-based recruitment manager, had hopes to travel the world and see London's towering Big Ben before she hit 30.
But just as the mother-of-one was planning her trip, she detected a small lump, the size of a 10 cent piece, in her right breast.
"It was a painful (lump) so I assumed it was just a cyst," she says. "I did see a doctor but given my clean family history and age he just asked me to monitor it with scans every three months."
The results of her scans were always inconclusive.
She did travel, but by the time Sali reached Big Ben, she was bedridden and far too fatigued to enjoy the sights. The dimply appearance of her breast concerned her.
"By the time I flew back to Melbourne and saw my doctor, he rushed me to get an ultra sound and mammogram," she says. "I was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer."
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) Cancer and Screening Unit, there has been approximately of 50 to 70 new cases of breast cancer in women aged under 30 per annum over the past three decades.
Although the total percentage of women developing breast cancer under the age of 30 remains low, experts warn that breast cancer in younger women is possible and that precautions should be taken.
"Just because it's not common doesn't mean you shouldn't be aware, nor should you think that it won't happen to you," says Gill Batt, director of Cancer Information and Support Services at the Cancer Council.
The most efficient way to discover a cancerous tumour is regular screening. Batt advises that women should have regular mammograms when they reach 50.
"If there is an indication of family history then that certainly warrants a check at 40," she says.
For younger women, however, detecting a cancerous tumour through regular screening may not be the best solution.
"Mammograms don't really work well with women under 40 because the tissue of the breast is too thick," she says.
The best form of prevention is to learn to listen to your body and get to know what is normal for you.
"Get to know what your breasts actually feel like when you're having a shower," she says. "If you find any change, immediately go and see your doctor."
Clean up your diet
According to the AIHW, there is no direct link between diet and the development of breast cancer.
"We have not explored the risks factors for younger women because breast cancer is primarily a disease of older women," says Chris Sturrock, Unit head for AIHW Cancer and Screening Unit. "There are no obvious modifiable risk factors for the cause breast cancer like, for example, the very clear link between smoking and lung cancer."
Maria Packard, spokesperson for the Dieticians Association insists that a healthy diet and limiting the intake of alcohol will aid in deterring the onset of cancer.
"It is estimated that dietary factors may account for 30 percent of cancers in industrialised countries," she says. "A healthy diet, rich in a variety of foods may help reduce the risk of developing diet-related cancers as well as meeting individual nutritional needs."
Packard recommends a high in fresh fruits and vegetables that are rich in phytochemicals, carotenoids and antioxidants.
"Aim for a wide range and colour as different types of fruit and veg are richer in particular phytochemicals and antioxidants," she says.
It is also advised to increase your daily dose of wholegrain breads, cereals and beans and lower your intake of saturated fats, smoked or preserved foods.
If you're a drinker, it's highly recommended you lower your intake. "Several studies have shown an association between alcohol and breast cancer," says Packard.
It is also best not to overcook or char foods as this may lead to the formation of substances that promote cancer.
Learn about your past
Now would also be a good time to have a chat with your relatives and discover whether any of them have suffered from breast cancer.
"For some families there is a real hereditary issue around cancer," says Batt.
If you realise a pattern, it's always worthwhile to have a chat with your GP who can offer genetic counselling and see whether you are at risk or not.
Look towards the future
After an emergency lumpectomy, seven months of intense chemotherapy and a double mastectomy, Stevanja is now three years into remission.
She is an avid fan of regular exercise and good, clean food and says, "breast cancer has been a hidden blessing. I am healthier and fitter than ever before."
Now, 31 and flaunting a full head of lustrous brunette hair, Stevanja hopes her story will encourage other young women to check their breasts regularly.
"Sometimes life takes you on a journey you don't often understand at the time but at some stage it will become clear why you were chosen to walk that path," she says. "For me, (breast cancer) was about getting my health back on track so I can be around for my son."