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HEALTH Q&A: Teen breast cancer

Q Is breast cancer a threat in the teen years?

A No. Breast cancer is rare among women younger than age 20, and is uncommon in women younger than age 30. Incidence of breast cancer increases sharply with age. Ninety-five percent of newly diagnosed breast cancer is in women ages 40 and older. According to SEER data, the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program registry, women age 20 to 24 had the lowest incidence rate of 1.5 cases per 100,000; whereas 75-79 years old women had the highest rate of 421.3 per 100,000,. Early menarche, late menopause, nulliparity and delayed first full term pregnancy are factors associated with increased risk. Premenopausal breast cancer raises suspicion for hereditary type. Genetic mutation carriers start screening at age 25.

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