Study: Advanced Breast Cancer Becoming More Common in Younger Women

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) — A local breast surgeon says she’s not surprised to see an increase in the most serious form of cancer among women in decades.

New research finds almost a tripling of advanced or metastatic breast cancer among women ages 25 to 39 between 1976 and 2009.

“It does make a little bit of intuitive sense,” Dr. Teresa Schwartz, a breast surgeon at St. Louis University Hospital said.

“Those older woman are all getting mammograms so its a lot easier to pick something up at an earlier stage.”

Dr. Schwartz says younger women who don’t have a strong family history for breast cancer don’t get checked on a regular basis and usually will not get a mammogram until age forty. Therefore women who get breast cancer before age forty will likely not know about it, and it won’t get caught at an earlier stage.

So what’s her advice to these younger women?

Dr. Schwartz sticks with the guidelines saying she see “little benefit for women without specific medical history in getting a mammogram before the age of forty.” She says unless you notice something worrisome before then there is not need to undergo a mammogram.


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