Results which were published in Wednesday's edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association confirmed an increase in patients younger than 40 with cancer that had spread to the bones, brain or lungs. This is news that no one wants to hear.
Cancer is by all accounts one of the most frightening words we can hear when speaking with our doctors. The treatment for cancer can be scary enough with its less-than-desirable results, let alone the disease itself taking a toll on your body.
Why is breast cancer becoming more prevalent in younger women? What has changed in the last few decades that may be the catalyst for this increase?
In 1976, 1.53 out of every 100,000 American women 25 to 39 years old was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. But by 2009, the rate had almost doubled to 2.9 per 100,000 women in that same age group.
This upward trend is not able to be explained yet, but has raised real concerns about future efforts to treat the disease. Cancer acts more aggressively in younger people, and because of that survival rates for young women with metastatic breast cancer are much lower than they are for older women.
Professionals have hypothesized that the trend is due to a variety of lifestyle changes that have occurred from one study period to the next. The arlier onset of menstruation, use of birth control, delayed pregnancy and the decrease in exercise and increase in obesity could all be factors.