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J R Coll Surg Edinb. 2002 Oct;47(5):693-9.

Breast cancer in women aged 35 and under: prognosis and survival.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Aberdeen, Foresterhill, Aberdeen, UK.

Erratum in

  • J R Coll Surg Edinb 2002 Dec;47(6):730. Jimor S [corrected to Jmor S].



Breast cancer comprises 22% of all cancers occurring in females but only 2% of cases occur in women aged 35 years and less. The presentation, behaviour and prognosis of breast cancer in such women, when compared with older women, are unclear and conflicting results have been reported. This study has audited clinical and pathological features in patients aged 35 years and under with breast cancer.


One hundred and thirteen patients were identified. The details of clinical staging, local and distant disease recurrence and overall survival were obtained for all patients. Histological sections of tumours were examined for type, grade, size, presence of surrounding intraductal carcinoma, presence of vascular space invasion, lymph node involvement and oestrogen receptor (ER) status.


Histological examination of the tumours revealed that 94% were invasive ductal carcinoma. In 73% of the cases the tumours were grade 3, 49% of patients who underwent axillary surgery had lymph node involvement and 20% of tumours expressed ERs. The overall 5-year survival was 64%. Predictors of a poorer survival (univariate analysis) were: increasing tumour size, absence of ERs, presence of lymphovascular space invasion, axillary lymph node involvement and detectable metastases at the initial presentation. Multivariate analysis revealed that only lymphovascular space invasion was an independent predictor of a poor survival.


Breast cancer in young (< or = 35 years) women is biologically aggressive, compared with older women. Factors predicting survival and overall survival rates, however, were comparable with those previously reported for older women with breast cancer.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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