In the Journal of the American Medical Association, investigators from the Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology program at Seattle Children’s Hospital in Washington reported a rise of advanced breast cancer in young women for the past three decades. This trend is occurring in women between the ages of 25 and 39 in all ethnicities.
The statistics were drawn from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results database (SEER), which is a project of the National Cancer Institute. SEER is a registry of cancers of all types that have occurred in the United States since 1973.
The results showed 3 in every 100,000 young women nationwide develop advanced breast cancer. This cancer can spread to the bones, liver, lungs, or brain. There were 250 cases of advanced breast cancer in 1976 and 800 cases reported in 2009. About 930,000 cases were studied in that period. The increase could not be explained. Further research into these findings is vital because advanced breast cancer is the worst possible diagnosis. Once the cancer has advanced, it is an in curable disease.
The upward trend just might be the result of better diagnostics, which means more cases are detected because of better technology now versus 20 years ago, but researchers are still not sure.