Thursday, October 17, 2013

TNBC found later in younger women, leading to poorer prognosis

Adolescent and young adult women with triple-negative breast cancer are nearly three times as likely to die of the disease than those with other forms of breast cancer, according to research published in the journal Breast Cancer Research.  Overall, these women faced a 44 percent higher risk of death from breast cancer of all types than older women. One reason, researchers say:  Lack of screening before age of 40, which leads to tumors being diagnosed at a higher stage when they are less treatable.

But, the difference was largely confined to short-term survival.  Long-term survival rates for these women were similar to those for older women.  This is because TNBC usually recurs quickly, with cases spiking in the first three years and dropping significantly after that.

The women in the study were breast cancer patients who were 15 to 39 at diagnosis.  Roughly 20 percent of those were triple-negative. Those living in poor neighborhoods, with pubic insurance, and who were African-American fared worst.   

The takeaway:  Make sure the young women in your life get tested, pay attention to their bodies, and take symptoms very seriously.  Early treatment is essential.

• Read more about TNBC in my book, Surviving Triple-Negative Breast Cancer.

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