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Breast Cancer

Breast cancer by the age of 40 accounts for more than 40% of all cancers diagnosed among women. Breast cancer survival rates in women under 40 years of age are lower than those seen in older women regardless of disease staging or subtype. When developing treatment plans for young women diagnosed with breast cancer it is important to address fertility issues such as infertility and pregnancy as well as a deeper understanding of the psychosocial issues the patient may be experiencing. Breast development, conservation and reconstruction are also important issues to be considered as they pertain to body image and overall wellbeing. Breast cancer diagnosed at a younger age can present as more biologically aggressive and have worse outcomes than those diagnosed at a later age, which demonstrates the need for clinical trials tailored towards better understanding this age group’s unique biology and increasing overall survival for this young population.

Source: Anders C, Johnson R, Litton J, et al. Breast Cancer Before Age 40 Years. Semin Oncol. 2009; 36:237-249.

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The Spring 2005 issue of the ACCO/Candlelighters Newsletter has an excellent article on AYA cancers entitled "Age Matters: The Problems with Teen Cancer Care", by Karen Albritton, MD. http://www.acco.org/Information/Resources/Newsletter.aspx

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