Young women are presenting with breast cancer that has already advanced. Would that be happening if they were screened younger and able to treat their cancers earlier? At The No Surrender Breast Cancer Foundation, we believe that young women need to be screened before the age of forty utilizing all techniques, including ultrasound and breast MRI. Tumors must be found small, before they have spread. While there are no guarantees that finding a tumor early will prevent it from spreading, the greatest chance a woman has to fight it from spreading is treating it while it is still localized.
Our Before Forty Initiative is educating young women to become aware of their risks and to be armed with the knowledge they need to demand early screening. We will continue to fight until the "Guidelines" that prevent young women from obtaining life saving screening are changed.
Metastatic Breast Cancer Incidence is Rising
Among Young Women
IMNG Medical Media, 2013 Feb 26, MA Moon
In contrast, the rate of locoregional breast cancer has not increased in this age group, and the incidence of all stages of the disease have not shown any increasing trends among older women, said Dr. Rebecca H. Johnson of Seattle Children’s Hospital and the University of Washington, Seattle, and her associates.
This trajectory “predicts that an increasing number of young women in the United States will present with metastatic breast cancer in an age group that already has the worst prognosis, no recommended routine screening practice, the least health insurance, and the most potential years of life” lost, the investigators noted.
They used data from three of the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) registries to examine time trends in breast cancer between 1976 and 2009. They found a steady, and possibly accelerating, rise in the rate of women aged 25-39 years presenting with metastatic breast cancer, from 1.53/100,000 in 1976 to 2.90/100,000 in 2009.
“No other age group had statistically significant increases, either for distant, regional, or localized disease at diagnosis,” Dr. Johnson and her colleagues said (JAMA 2013;309:800-5).
In a different analysis of the data, the category of metastatic breast cancer as a proportion of all invasive breast cancer in this age group rose from 4.4% in the 1970s to 4.8% in the 1980s, 5.5% in the 1990s, and 7.2% in the early 2000s.
This trend was evident in women of all races/ethnicities, in women residing in both urban and nonurban regions, and in women with estrogen receptor–positive and estrogen receptor–negative tumors. “Non-Hispanic white and African-American individuals appear to have been more affected by the increase, as have women with the ER-positive subtype of the disease,” they said.
“The absolute increase of 1.37/100,000 over 34 years is relatively small, but the trend shows no evidence of abatement and may indicate increasing epidemiologic and clinical significance,” the researchers said.
These findings must be corroborated in other studies. If they are confirmed, they will be particularly concerning “because young age itself is an independent adverse prognostic factor for breast cancer.
“The most recent national 5-year survival data for distant disease for 25- to 39-year-old women is only 31% ... compared with a 5-year survival of 87% for women with locoregional breast cancer,” they added.Dr. Johnson reported having served on a board for Critical Mass Young Adult Cancer Alliance and having served as a speaker at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society AYA Survivorship Conference. One of her colleagues reported being a consultant and speaker for Sigma-Tau Pharmaceuticals; another researcher’s salary was funded by the Seattle Children’s Guild Association Teen Cancer Grant. No other disclosures were reported.