YSC 15th Anniversary Lists - March 2013

In 2013, Young Survival Coalition celebrates 15 years of supporting women 40 and under affected by breast cancer. In the tradition of its founders, YSC pioneers research, information about treatment options and helps with the challenges and frustrations young women face when diagnosed. As the first organization to recognize these needs, YSC will be highlighting its accomplishments as well as the cancer community’s. 

Check back on the 15th of each month to see 15 new facts!

YSC's Research Think Tank


15 Facts about Breast Cancer

in Young Women

The facts about breast cancer in young women can be intimidating, especially for those dealing with a recent diagnosis. There is no effective screening tool for young women, the cancer is generally more aggressive and the survival rates are often lower. This is why YSC has dedicated itself to improving the quality and quantity of life for all young women with breast cancer during the past 15 years and will continue to do so. YSC works with the research community to focus on topics that will promote real change for young women, most recently at the YSC Research Think Tank. If anyone ever tells you that young women don’t get breast cancer, give them these facts.


Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women ages 15 to 39. [1]

There is currently no effective method to screen for breast cancer in young women.

Nearly 80 percent of young women diagnosed with breast cancer find their breast abnormality themselves.

It is estimated that there will be 13,110 new female breast cancer cases in the U.S. in women under age 40 and 1,160 deaths annually.[3]

Today there are an estimated 250,000 breast cancer survivors living in the U.S. who were diagnosed at age 40 or younger. [4]

Young women are more likely to have aggressive subtypes of breast cancer, including triple negative and HER2+ disease[5], larger tumor sizes and higher incidence of lymph node involvement.[6]

The incidence of localized and regional breast cancer in women under 40 has remained relatively stable since the 1970s.[7]

The five-year relative survival rate is lowest in women diagnosed with breast cancer before age 40 (84 percent) compared to women diagnosed at ages 40 and older (90 percent).[8]

African American women diagnosed under the age of 35 have more than two times the incidence of invasive breast cancer.[9]

Young women with breast cancer are underrepresented in research studies and clinical trials. 

Data on the epidemiology and treatment of women under age 40 with metastatic breast cancer is almost nonexistent.[10]

Many young women treated for breast cancer remain premenopausal, even after chemotherapy.[11]

According to recent studies, pregnancy after breast cancer does not increase the risk of recurrence and may confer a slight protective effect.[12]

Breast cancer has significant impact on quality of life in younger women, including depression, psychosocial issues, vitality, body image/sexuality, family planning, workplace issues and fatigue.[13]

Half of all women treated for breast cancer will have sexual dysfunction. The younger the woman, the more severe the effect.[14]

Did You Know?

In 2001, YSC hosted the first medical research symposium focused on young women and breast cancer that was the catalyst for our research agenda and first evidence-based white paper, Bridging the Gaps: Medical Research Symposium on Young Women & Breast Cancer — A Basis for Action & Advocacy. The recommendations put forth by YSC’s 2001 white paper changed the conversation about breast cancer in young women and was the catalyst to making their issues visible.

In February 2013, YSC hosted a Research Think Tank and brought together trained advocates, researchers and medical experts to deliver a ‘State of the Science’ report and build a research agenda to move us into the future.


4. Based on 2000 census data.

14. Reported at the BCY1 Breast Cancer in Young Women Conference, Dublin, Ireland (Nov. 2012).