YOUNG women found the news surprising and more than a little scary: Cases of advanced breast cancer have been rising in women 25 to 39 over the past three decades, researchers reported this week.
From 1976 to 2009, the number of cases of advanced breast cancer in younger women at the time of diagnosis increased, the researchers found, from 250 a year to 850 a year.
Although those numbers sound scary, you have to take into account that the population of young women grew in that time period. When you look at the percentage of new cases, the increase is small and shows they nearly doubled: from 1.5 of every 100,000 younger women in 1976 to about 3 per 100,000 in 2009.
Two experts familiar with the study to offer perspective on the findings and suggestions on what younger women should do to protect their breast health: Len Lichtenfeld, MD, is deputy chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society. Laura Kruper, MD, is director of the Cooper Finkel Women’s Health Center and co-director of the Breast Cancer Program at City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in Duarte, Calif.
Q: Can you put this new finding in perspective for younger women?
“Younger women should not become overly alarmed at the headline about the increased risk of advanced breast cancer in young women,” Lichtenfeld says…Read more