In a disturbing trend, more and more younger women are being diagnosed with later stage breast cancer.
A study recently found that between 2000 and 2015, the number of women below the age of 40 who were diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer increased by more than 4%. According to the American Cancer Society, women below the age of 40 account for approximately 6 percent of all breast cancer cases diagnosed in the United States.
Stage four breast cancer is the most lethal stage of the disease, and at this point, it is very likely that cancer cells have spread to other areas of the body and infected other organs, including the lungs and liver. According to another study, approximately 27% of people who have been diagnosed with stage four breast cancer live for an average of 5 years after the diagnosis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that, overall, 11% of all persons diagnosed with breast cancer are below the age of 45.
So, what’s causing this increase in breast cancer diagnoses among younger women? The problem could lie with the fact that most recommendations for breast screening and mammograms only advise women to get these after the age of 40. Women below the age of 40, therefore, may decide to ignore problem signs until it is too late. This is in spite of the fact that breast cancer is the most common cancer among women between the ages of 15 and 39.
If you are above the age of 40, it is highly recommended that you get a mammogram done at least once every two years, and continue thereafter till you reach the age of 75. According to experts, it’s important to get even minor changes in mass in the breast checked out by your doctor as soon as you notice them. Early detection can mean all the difference.