A recent CDC study highlights the differences in breast cancer incidence among young women. Although breast cancer is not common among younger women, rates have remained stable in recent years. Breast cancers in young women are more likely to be found at later stages and with more aggressive, larger tumors. Based on data from CDC’s National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) and the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program, the study looked at breast cancer rates and trends by stage, grade, and tumor subtype, as well as age and race/ethnicity among women aged 20-49 years. From 2004-2013, the majority of invasive breast cancer cases (77.3%) occurred among women aged 40-49 years. Among women younger than 45 years old, black women had the highest breast cancer incidence. For women aged 45-49 years, white women had higher breast cancer incidence than black women. Across all age groups, incidence rates for triple-negative breast cancer were higher in black women than other races/ethnicities. These differences show that breast cancers in young women are highly diverse and in need of further research into personal and cultural factors. Take a look at our resource for triple-negative breast cancer.
Younger women diagnosed with breast cancer have poorer prognoses and higher mortality compared to older women. Young black women have higher incidence rates of breast cancer and more aggressive subtypes than women of other races/ethnicities. In this study, we examined recent trends and variations in breast cancer incidence among young women in the United States.
Using 2004–2013 National Program of Cancer Registries and Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program data, we calculated breast cancer incidence rates and trends and examined variations in stage, grade, and tumor subtype by age and race/ethnicity among young women aged 20–49 years.
The majority of breast cancer cases occurred in women aged 40–44 and 45–49 years (77.3%). Among women aged < 45 years, breast cancer incidence was highest among black women. Incidence trends increased from 2004 to 2013 for Asian or Pacific Islander (API) women and white women aged 20–34 years. Black, American Indian or Alaska Native, and Hispanic women had higher proportions of cases diagnosed at later stages than white and API women. Black women had a higher proportion of grade III–IV tumors than other racial/ethnic groups. Across all age groups, incidence rates for triple-negative breast cancer were significantly higher in black women than women of other races/ethnicities, and this disparity increased with age.
Breast cancer among young women is a highly heterogeneous disease. Differences in tumor characteristics by age and race/ethnicity suggest opportunities for further research into personal and cultural factors that may influence breast cancer risk among younger women.