According to CNN published today, “Diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer in women younger than 40 has increased 2% a year, every year, from 1976 to 2009, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.” The cancer is being detected in women 25 to 39.
CNN continues,” It's a devastating diagnosis, particularly because a woman younger than 40 who is diagnosed with breast cancer is more likely to have an aggressive form of the disease and face lower survival rates…”But for perspective, the overall population of women who are affected still remains small…If you project these data out to the number of people in the U.S., there were about 250 cases per year in 1976 and that's now risen to 850 cases of breast cancer per year," said Dr. Rebecca Johnson, the study's lead author and medical director of the Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology program at Seattle Children's Hospital.”
CNN goes on to say, “Yet while the rate of breast cancer incidence in young women has increased, Johnson and her team found that mortality rates over the last 30 years have been stable…It's great, except it's not great - the five-year survival rate used to be 15%, and now it's 30%. So that's something to be thankful for, but it's still very bad," she said…If women could be diagnosed earlier (before the cancer spreads), than each individual woman that [it] happens to stands to do a whole lot better, stands a better chance of living."
However, science is beginning to understand more about breast cancer and this in turn will help young women survive breast cancer as time goes on. According to ScienceDaily, “A new study from Johns Hopkins researchers suggests that the lethal spread of breast cancer is as dependent on a tumor's protein-rich environment as on genetic changes inside tumor cells.”
Science Daily goes on to say, "The most dangerous aspect of breast cancer is its ability to spread to distant sites, and most tumors are initially unable to do that," says Andrew Ewald, Ph.D., assistant professor of cell biology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and member of the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences' Center for Cell Dynamics. Learning more specifically what triggers metastases may provide additional targets for preventing and treating the malignant process that causes cancer deaths.”