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More Advanced Breast Cancer Diagnoses in Younger Women

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The past three decades has signaled a steady incline in the number of young women diagnosed with advanced breast cancer, or metastatic breast cancer.

A national study collaborated upon by the Seattle Children’s Hospital and the University of Washington in Seattle found the higher incidence of advanced breast disease among women 25 to 39-years-old, which rose 2.1-percent from 1976 to 2009. This similar gradual incline was not noted among older women.

Medical professionals haven’t found a direct cause, but higher obesity rates, more alcohol and tobacco consumption, and weaker genetics are all plausible causes as to why more young women are developing tumors that have already spread to bone, brain, lungs, or other distant sites before they are found by doctors.

“Whatever the cause, something needs to be done to find these women at an earlier stage of cancer,” says Dr. Thomas Julian, director of surgical oncology at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. “This is a problem because we don’t usually screen before age 40 unless [we] know there are genetics in the family or a strong family history.”

[The findings are worrying for this particular] “age group that already has the worst prognosis, no recommended routine screening practice, the least health insurance, and the most potential years of life,” says Dr. Rebecca Johnson, a researcher from Seattle Children’s Hospital and the University of Washington.

Source: ABC News

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