|Young women CAN and DO get breast cancer. While breast cancer in young women accounts for a small percentage of all breast cancer cases, the impact of this disease is widespread: There are more than 250,000 women 40 and under in the U.S. living with breast cancer, and over 11,100 young women will be diagnosed in the next year. But, despite the fact that breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women ages 15 to 54:
- Many young women and their doctors are unaware that they are at risk for breast cancer.
- There is no effective breast cancer screening tool for women 40 and under.
- Young women are often diagnosed at a later stage than their older counterparts.
- There is very little research or educational material focused on issues unique to this younger population, such as fertility, pregnancy, genetic predisposition, the impact of hormonal status on the effectiveness of treatment, psycho-social and long-term survivorship issues, and higher mortality rates for young women, particularly for African-Americans and Latinas.
- Young women diagnosed with breast cancer often feel isolated and have little contact with peers who can relate to what they are experiencing.
- As the incidence of young women with breast cancer is much lower than in older women, young women are underrepresented in many research studies.
|Despite the prevailing opinion that young women don’t get breast cancer, the reality is that they can and they do. In fact, one in every 229 women between the ages of 30 and 39 will be diagnosed with breast cancer within the next 10 years1. Following are some additional startling facts about breast cancer in young women:
- Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in young women ages 15-542.
- More than 11,100 women under age 40 will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and more than 1,100 will die3.
- There are more than 250,000 women living in the United States today who were age 40 or under when they were diagnosed with breast cancer4.
- Young women’s cancers are generally more aggressive and result in lower survival rates.
- The five-year survival rate for young women with breast cancer is 82 percent, which is lower than their post-menopausal counterparts5.
- Young women with breast cancer struggle with many issues that their post-menopausal counterparts don’t face, including: the possibility of early menopause, pregnancy after diagnosis, generally more advanced cancers at diagnosis, and higher mortality rates.
- As the incidence of young women with breast cancer is much lower than in older women, young women are an underrepresented population in many research studies.