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Breast Cancer is the most common form of malignant tumor in women ages 25-39 and is accountable for nearly 14% of all cancer cases in men and women in that age group. Recent studies have shown an increase in the number of breast cancer found in this age group over the past few decades. In 1976, 1.53 out of every 100,000 American women ages 25-39 years old were diagnosed with advanced stage breast cancer. In 2009, the number had increased to 2.9 out of every 100,000 women - that’s almost double.
Due to the fact that this is the first time researchers have seen an increase in advanced breast cancer in the US, the findings still need to be confirmed by future studies. If these findings are actually the case, the results are particularly alarming because young women diagnosed with advanced breast cancer have a low survival rate - only 31% will survive 5 years. Women in this age group are not advised to receive breast cancer screenings unless they have a family history, which is a scary thought all on its own.
Researchers have examined existing studies to see if they could identify any environmental factors that have changed during the same period when this increase occurred, but were unable to find one. The increase in obesity in recent years has had a significant change, but earlier studies have indicated that there is a decrease in the risk of breast cancer in obese, young women. If this increase is real, it is likely that there is more than one factor responsible for the change.
Be aware that breast cancer can happen even in young, otherwise healthy women. Talk to your doctor about your risks, especially if you have any concerns. Listen to your body and stop cancer before it starts!