Breast cancer rates in young women rising, American Medical Association says

Photo: Associated Press

A new study is suggesting that there is a rise in the number of young American women diagnosed with advanced, incurable breast cancer.

The number of American women ages 25 to 39 diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer — cancer that has already spread to other organs—rose by around 3.6 percent a year from 2000 to 2009, according to a study in today's Journal of the American Medical Association.

The trend began in the 1970s, although the most rapid increases occurred in about the last decade, the study says, according to USA Today.

"It is a big increase, and it's accelerating over time, and it's hitting the youngest women," says Johnson, an oncologist at the University of Washington, USA Today reported.

Young women shouldn't be overly alarmed, Johnson says, noting that breast cancer at any stage is not common before age 40.