Breast cancer survival rates same for under 40s

YOUNG WOMEN with breast cancer have the same survival rates as women over 40, NUI Galway professor of surgery Michael Kerin has told the annual symposium of the American Society of Breast Cancer Surgeons.

The commonly held belief that young women have worse outcomes than older women did not match up to outcomes at Galway University Hospital, Prof Kerin told the meeting of breast cancer experts in San Francisco on Friday.

Prof Kerin was speaking about his recently published co-authored study of patients at Galway University Hospital over 20 years. Data from some 3,000 breast cancer patients, 8.8 per cent of whom were under 40, was included in the study of younger age as a prognostic indicator.

While the young women needed different treatments from older women, their survival rates were the same, Prof Kerin said. Younger women tended to present with higher grade tumours and at a later stage than older women, and their tumours were more aggressive.

However, it found no difference in both disease-free survival and overall survival between younger and older women. The study found a significant trend towards more aggressive treatment, with young women getting more mastectomies.

Prof Kerin said immediate reconstruction should be offered to all women who have had mastectomies. Ireland’s reconstruction rate was one of the highest in the world, with 93 per cent of younger women and 70 per cent of older women at Galway having it, he said.

Source: Irish Times