Study: More Young Women Diagnosed with Advanced Breast Cancer - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Study: More Young Women Diagnosed with Advanced Breast Cancer

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A new study has found more young women are being diagnosed with advanced breast cancer.

The findings, by the American Cancer Society, are especially troubling because breast cancer in younger women is often more aggressive.    

Researchers from several universities came to collect data for the study. The group found that since 1976 there has been a small but steady increase in breast cancer that has spread to other organs at the time of diagnosis. That's in women aged 25 to 39. The increase is slightly more than 2 percent every year.

Dr. Jennifer Harvey, the head of the breast cancer division at the University of Virginia Medical Center, says environmental factors may be contributing to the slight increase.

Harvey says she doesn't want the findings to scare young women.

"Breast cancer is actually very uncommon. At age 30 her risk of developing breast cancer over the next 10 years is only about 1 in about 225 or so, over 10 years, so that's a really low risk, but I think what people forget is low risk is not zero," Harvey said.

Harvey says young women with a strong family history of breast cancer should start getting mammograms at age 25.

Because younger women diagnosed with breast cancer tend to have lower survival rates, Harvey says it's important to do breast exams and go to the doctor immediately if you think you have a problem.

Click here for the complete study.

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