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Ginekol Pol. 2016;87(9):659-663. doi: 10.5603/GP.2016.0062.

Breast cancer in young women.

Author information

1
Regional Cancer Centre in Opole, Poland. brad@onkologia.opole.pl.

Abstract

Breast cancer (BC) in young women is rare, affecting only 4-6% of women under the age of 40. Regardless, BC remains the most common malignancy among younger patients. Recently, a significant increase in BC rates has been observed among pre-menopausal subjects. Breast cancer in young women requires special attention due to its specific morphologic and prognostic characteristics and unique aspects, including fertility preservation and psychosocial issues (e.g. its impact on family life and career). Young women are more likely to have tumors with higher incidence of negative clinicopathologic features (higher histological grade, more lymph node positivity, lower estrogen receptor (ER) positivity, higher rates of Her2/neu overexpression). Also, they tend to be diagnosed at more advanced stages of the disease. That, in turn, contributes to less favorable prognosis as compared to older women. Young women are generally treated similarly to older patients. Surgical management includes mastectomy or breast-conserving surgery, followed by radiation therapy (younger women have higher local recurrence rates than older women, especially after breast-conserving therapy). Although the basics of chemotherapy are the same for patients of all ages, younger women have some special considerations. It is important to consider options for fertility preservation before starting systemic treatment. Patients should have access to genetic testing as their results may affect the choice of therapy. Younger women and their families should receive adequate psychological support and counselling.

KEYWORDS:

breast cancer; fertility; treatment

PMID:
27723074
DOI:
10.5603/GP.2016.0062
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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