(CBS) – A new study finds the incidence of advanced breast cancer is growing among younger women.
According to the report in the Journal of the American Medical Association, there’s a small but significant increase in advanced breast cancer among women in their 20′s and 30′s. Researchers found the rate has gone up each year since 1976.
Young women with breast cancer tend to have more aggressive forms of the disease than older women and have lower survival rates.
At least 230,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. every year, and 11,000 are under 40 years old. There are no routine screening practices recommended for that age group.
Experts say young women usually don’t know something is wrong until they can feel a lump, a sign that the tumor is advanced.
“Women really have to pay attention to what’s going on in their physical exam. If they happen to feel a mass, they should not ignore it, they should bring it to the doctor’s attention,” said Dr. Stephanie Bernik, with Lenox Hill Hospital.
Researchers say more studies need to be done to figure out why the numbers are going up.