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Keywords:

  • breast cancer;
  • disparities;
  • African Americans;
  • young women

Abstract

BACKGROUND

African-American women younger than age 45 years have a higher risk of incidence and mortality due to breast cancer than other women. The reason for this disparity in risk is not well understood.

METHODS

This review summarizes the literature on the topic of breast cancer in young women and presents a summary of a discussion on this topic during a national forum on breast cancer among African-American women.

RESULTS

The occurrence of breast cancer among African-American women younger than the age of 45 years has not been well studied. There is a clear and long-term pattern of higher incidence and mortality and poorer survival in this population subgroup.

CONCLUSION

Research is needed to understand the reasons for these disparities and to reduce or eliminate them. Studies focused on hormonal factors, genetic factors, diet and obesity, and timely access to state-of-the-art prevention, information, screening, diagnosis, and treatment are likely to produce important new knowledge in this area. Cancer 2003;97(1 Suppl):273–9. © 2003 American Cancer Society.

DOI 10.1002/cncr.11025