Breast cancer more aggressive for young women

Young women more likely to suffer 'aggressive' breast cancer

Researchers have discovered that younger women are more likely to suffer from aggressive forms of breast cancer.

US scientists at North Carolina’s Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy examined tumours from eighty women, spanning three different age groups.

They discovered that tumours from women under the age of 45 were more likely to contain specific genes, which proved to be more resistant to treatment. The existence of these genes also led to a higher risk of the disease returning.

Dr Kimberly Blackwell, an investigator on the study, commented, ‘Clinicians have long noted that the breast cancers we see in women under the age of 45 tend to respond less well to treatment and have higher recurrence rates than the disease we see in older women, particularly those over the age of 65.’

She expalained, ‘Now we’re really understanding why this is the case, and by understanding this, we may be able to develop better and more targeted therapies to treat these younger women.’

The next step for scientists will now be to reassess breast cancer treatment for younger women, taking into account these new findings.

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