More women under 40 are being diagnosed with breast cancer. What to know about the potential reasons and risks
More women under 40 are being diagnosed with breast cancer. What to know about the potential reasons and risks

Although the median age at diagnosis of breast cancer is 62More young women are facing grim outcomes — many of whom are experiencing more aggressive forms of cancer, research shows.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women one third There are new cancer diagnoses in women each year. Overall, breast cancer cases are increasing by 0.5% per year, according to statistics American Cancer Society.

“Interestingly, in recent years, we’ve really seen more and more very young women being diagnosed in their 20s, 30s and early 40s,” said Beverly Moy, clinical director of the Division of Breast Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. told us. wealth through email. However, she noted that more young women may be more likely to seek resources at large academic cancer centers.

Nonetheless, a study published this month Jama NetworkFrom 2010 to 2019, the number of cancers among women under the age of 50 increased. Researchers examined a cohort of more than half a million people and found that breast cancer accounted for the majority of early-stage cancer cases in 2019. The study also highlights how the increased incidence of early-stage cancers has contributed. Cancer rates are most pronounced among those aged 30 to 39. Gastrointestinal cancers have increased the most in people under the age of 50 over the past decade.

“There are many possible factors that contribute to a young woman being diagnosed with breast cancer,” Moy said. “These factors include increasing rates of obesity in the United States, lifestyle changes such as later age at pregnancy and reduced activity compared with many years ago, and environmental factors and exposures.”

Study shows interest rates soaring

An earlier study was published in 2021 The study found that 1 in 196 women under the age of 40 will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Since 2004, breast cancer rates in adolescents and young adults, many of whom face an invasive diagnosis because of advanced disease, have increased since 2004; nearly 6 percent of invasive breast cancers occur in young and adolescent women, the study showed.

The authors of the 2021 study wrote: “After 2004, the incidence of invasive and all breast cancers increased among AYA (adolescent and young adult) women in the United States, with invasive cancers being more common than all cancers. ”

Research suggests this raises deeper concerns, as younger women are more at risk for diagnostic progression, recurrence after treatment, and spread beyond the breast. This group was also more likely to be premenopausal and have managed reproductive options at the time of diagnosis.

“This highlights the importance of multidisciplinary psychosocial support for AYA (adolescents and young adults) with breast cancer,” the study authors wrote.

Comand said integrated care teams were critical.

“These women often experience significant financial loss, high levels of emotional distress, and isolation from others,” Dr. Amy Comander, medical director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, told us. wealth Through email, she cares for many young women with breast cancer. “Young women diagnosed with breast cancer benefit from the care of a multidisciplinary team that includes physicians, social workers, psychologists, nurses, physical therapists, dietitians, and advanced practice providers.”

New Screening Guidelines

Earlier this year, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force changed the recommended age for breast cancer screening for women from 40 to 50 to 40. Routine screening is the most important thing, experts say; even so, mammograms fail to detect about one in eight breast cancers, and additional steps are needed to address initial false-negative results.

“If young women have a family history of breast cancer, they should discuss with their doctor the appropriate age to start breast cancer screening,” Moy said. “We also strongly recommend that women exercise regularly and eat a balanced diet.”

Comander noted that the American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Society recommends that women undergo breast cancer risk assessment at age 25.

“Women identified as being at higher risk for breast cancer may start breast cancer screening as early as age 25 or 30,” Comander said. “Screening studies for women at increased risk of breast cancer may include breast MRI in addition to annual mammograms.”


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