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Improved Survival with Early Surgery in Young Women with Breast Cancer

Women 39 years or younger with breast cancer have significantly improved survival if they receive surgery less than 2 weeks after a diagnosis compared to those whose surgery is delayed to more than 6 weeks after diagnosis. These results were recently published in the journal JAMA Surgery.

Younger women diagnosed with breast cancer tend to have worse overall survival than their older counterparts. Younger women tend to have more aggressive types of breast cancers than older women and researchers continue to evaluate ways in which to improve their survival.

Researchers recently evaluated data from the California Cancer Registry database to further explore potential variables that might affect survival outcomes in younger women diagnosed with breast cancer. The data included data from 8,860 women between the ages of 15 and 39 who were diagnosed wth breast cancer between 1997-2006.

Survival at 5 years was 80% among women who received surgery more than 6 weeks following diagnosis, compared with 90% for those receiving surgery within 2 weeks from diagnosis.
Having public or no insurance, late cancer stage and estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer were also variables associated with reduced survival.
The researchers concluded that “Young women with breast cancer with a longer TDT [treatment delay time] have significantly decreased survival time compared with those with a shorter TDT.

Younger women with breast cancer should speak with their physician regarding the timing of their therapy following diagnosis, as it appears that even short durations of time in treatment delay may have an impact on survival.

Reference: Smith E, Ziogas A, Anton-Culver H. Delay in Surgical Treatment and Survival After Breast Cancer Diagnosis in Young Women by Race/Ethnicity. JAMA Surgery. Early on-line publication April 24, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2013.1680.