CLEVELAND - A new study finds a small but statistically significant increase in the number of younger women with advanced-stage breast cancer.
Dr. Holly Pederson did not take part in the study, but treats breast cancer patients at the Cleveland Clinic.
"In the age group of 25 to 39, breast cancer is much less common, but what we're finding is that it can present at a much later stage and be much more deadly," Pederson said.
Researchers at Seattle Children's Hospital teamed with researchers from the University of Washington. They found the number of women between the ages of 25 and 39 being diagnosed with advanced-stage breast cancer increased from 1.53 per 100,000 in 1976 to 2.90 per 100,000 in 2009.
Researchers concede the increase is small but significant because the trend shows no signs of decreasing and the lowest five-year breast cancer survival rates are among 20 to 34-year-old women.
Pederson says to decrease the risk it's important for all young women to do self-breast exams, know the risk factors and pay close attention to their family's health history.
"The pre-disposition to cancer can be passed down from one generation to the next and those families can be identified because they do develop earlier breast cancers that can be more aggressive," Pederson said
Complete findings for this study are in the " Journal of the American Medical Association ."