Breast cancer before age 40 years

Semin Oncol. 2009 Jun;36(3):237-49. doi: 10.1053/j.seminoncol.2009.03.001.


Approximately 7% of women with breast cancer are diagnosed before the age of 40 years, and this disease accounts for more than 40% of all cancer in women in this age group. Survival rates are worse when compared to those in older women, and multivariate analysis has shown younger age to be an independent predictor of adverse outcome. Inherited syndromes, specifically BRCA1 and BRCA2, must be considered when developing treatment algorithms for younger women. Chemotherapy, endocrine, and local therapies have the potential to significantly impact both the physiologic health-including future fertility, premature menopause, and bone health-and the psychological health of young women as they face a diagnosis of breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Breast Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infertility, Female / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Neoplastic
  • Prognosis
  • United States / epidemiology