Breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer among women globally, and the leading cause of cancer death as women in general have a 1-in-8 chance of developing breast cancer.

However, cases of breast cancer in young adult women under 40 are rising across Europe, though, experts say the cause remains unclear whether it is due to improved diagnosis or new risk factors.

A study in cancer epidemiology found cases rose by about 1 per cent a year between 1990 and 2008 in seven countries.

Researchers in France and Italy studied trends in breast cancer in women under 40 in Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland over an 18-year period.

They found that on average cases rose by about 1 per cent a year in women under 40, with the greatest rise in women under 35.

“The rise in incidence was greater for women under 35 and for ductal carcinomas [a type of tumour in the ducts of the mammary gland],” the researchers, led by Dr Brice Leclere, of the GRELL working group, write in the journal Cancer Epidemiology.

“This increase can be due to a rise in risk factors and/or changes in diagnosis and surveillance practices, but we could not clearly distinguish between these two non-exclusive explanations.”

Commenting on the research, Jessica Kirby, Cancer Research UK’s health information manager, said: “Rises in breast cancer rates could be caused by a range of things that can increase the risk of breast cancer, such as women having fewer children and having them later in life, or greater awareness and diagnosis in this group.

“Women can reduce the risk of breast cancer by keeping active and cutting down on alcohol. Also get to know your breasts and, if you notice any change, tell your doctor without delay.”

Culled from Daily Times NG

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