WASHINGTON D.C. (WUSA9) -- Should younger women be screened earlier for breast cancer? A study appearing in the February 27 issue of JAMA gives evidence to suggest that for women 25-39 years of age, it may be a good idea.
The authors of the study say,"The individual average risk of a woman developing breast cancer in the United States was 1 in 173 by the age of 40 years when assessed in 2008. Young woman with breast cancer tend to experience more aggressive disease than older women and have lower survival rates."
Younger women are less likely to have available healthcare. As a result, many are not going to a doctor for regular screenings for breast cancer.
There are no recommended routine screening practices for women of this age group.
Rebecca H. Johnson, M.D. of Seattle Children's Hospital and University of Washington, Seattle, and her colleagues, conducted a study that analyzed breast cancer trends by obtaining data from three U.S. National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) registries.
Since 1979, researchers found a steady increase in the incidence of distant disease breast cancer in 25-to 39-year-old women. Researchers say, "this is an absolute difference of 1.37 per 100,000, representing an average compounded increase of 2.07% per year over the 34-year interval, a relatively small increase but the trend shows no evidence for abatement and may indicate increasing epidemiological and clinical significance."
The study concludes the causes of this small increase of advanced breast cancer in young women is unknown, but worldwide data can shed light on possible causes. The most recent 5-year breast cancer survival rate for young women is 31%.
Knowing the signs and symptoms of breast cancer as well as performing monthly self-exams can mean early diagnosis. Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death for women of all races and the most common cancer among women in the United States.